Sermon: "First Sunday in Lent" - March 10, 2019

by Ms. Yolanda Silverio
First Sunday in Lent


Good morning my Fellow Parishioner & Church of the Holy Sprit In today's Gospel of Luke, the story goes:

As Jesus returned from the wilderness famished, the devil was waiting for him, and the devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.  Jesus answered him, "It is written, one does not live by bread alone." This was one of the many tests the devil was trying to put on Jesus.

I think the devil himself, was aware of both the divine and the human nature of Christ and after having endured forty days in the desert in prayer - preparing for his mission to commence the devil probably thought Christ was weakened. The devil was dead wrong. Christ declined these offers and denounced the devil who then left the presence of Christ. This is exactly what we, as humans, must do! Refuse the temptation of evil and to continue the path of Christ. Go away you devil...Christ is my leader!

The Gospel of Luke which was written thousands of years ago it seems that nothing has change.  Evil is so prevalent today.  People seem to be in despair and the only way they feel they can resolve their pain is to hurt others along the way.  At times I feel so much social injustice in today's world, not unlike it was when Christ was alive.  There is so much malice talk, so much bullying like never before.  It's the devil at work.  But we must not fall into the devil's hands but follow the teachings of Christ and hold his hand.  In spite of the pain that the devil causes us, we must pray for God to have mercy on us.

Finally, LENT has arrived! And I am rejoicing. As so many of you may or may not know LENT is my favorite time in the liturgical calendar. Certainly, Father Jerry knows how I feel about LENT. I love LENT for so many reasons. For one LENT is almost a complete secret in the commercial world. There is no huffing and puffing or rushing to buy gifts. There are no commercials on TV for LENT as there are during Christmastime. I love LENT because for the next 40 days I try to live in serenity, quietness, and prayers. I make it an effort to slow down. It is a time where I find the Lord, my God puts me to a test.

No, I don't give up coffee, or my favorite snacks, but instead I try to do something for God.

I grew up in a household where my mother, a Roman Catholic, was not very devoted to the church at all.  But for some reason, LENT was a special time for her.  Although she was a very private person, and I never really knew why LENT was so important, all I knew is that she made fish almost every day during LENT.  As a young girl, I was a very picky eater, and fish was not my favorite. So, when she made fish I cringed and pretend to eat it, but instead my doggy would benefit from the fish.  It is hard to imagine what it was like for Jesus to go without food for so many days.  Only the protection of the angels saved him.  And I think the angels saved me from my mother finding out that it was our doggy who ate my fish.

Fast forward after I became an Episcopalian almost 20 years ago, LENT is the reason why I love being an Episcopalia n. It gives me 40 days to really look into my heart and soul. To find my path and to make friends and love those you meet along the way.  LENT is kindness to others, and not to judge. LENT is a time to give thanks for what you have, and to wish others that they may have more than what you have.  It is a time to collect and to give long overdue hugs. LENT is a time to share something you unexpectedly received.

As these 40 days progress and we pray let God shape us to His divine will. God ask of us very little, but we are here to serve, not to be served that is our purpose in life.

As the days go by during these Lenten days, I hope that all of you my dear friends find some quiet moments and comfort in your life and to cherish something special with Jesus, whatever it may be for you.
Finally, I shall leave you with one of my favorite Lenten poems written by Ann Weems.
Lenten Poem by Ann Weems
Lent is a time to take time to let the power of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events get up and walk around inus,
a time to intensify our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over the thoughts of our hearts, a time to place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and
listen to his Word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder ....
Lent is a time to allow
a fresh new taste of God!
Perhaps we're afraid to have time to think, for thoughts come unbidden.
Perhaps we're afraid to face our future knowing our past.
Give us courage, 0 God, to hear your Word
and to read our living into it.
Give us the trust to know we're forgiven and give us the faith
to take up our lives and walk.