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*March 2024 ALC Footprints Newsletter

Our 40-day journey in Lent is like Jesus' own forty days desert. We, too, are called to confront our temptations - the same temptations as Jesus but in a 21st century context. We may be tempted to find our salvation in material things alone or in our role as consumers. We may be to find our salvation in celebrity and status and in the adulation and attention of others. We may be tempted to forget the common good. We may be tempted to find our salvation in political power over others and military superiority. Jesus says no to these temptations. We cannot live by our possessions alone. We will not be fully alive by becoming like a god. We will not be saved by exploiting others.

Jesus offers us hope. Jesus confronted temptation and was able to say "no." There is hope for us! It is possible to resist temptation. It is possible to resist the pressures of our culture and society and to be free. It is possible to tum away from consumerism, materialism, violence, racism, and all kinds of social and personal sin. Jesus' 40 days in the desert and his encounter with the evil one is a sign of hope for us all.

Lent is a season for liberation. People all over the work. especially those who suffer in some way or are victims of injustice, are seeking liberation. All these who were baptized, and promised to live in God's faith are invited to be reborn and renewed. The whole of God's children are seeking it. On some level the whole world is seeking it. Lent can be seen as a quest for this liberation and this freedom in Christ.

Jesus' 40 days in the desert parallels the 40 years of the biblical Exodus experience and parallels our annual 40 days of Lenten renewal. In his 40 days, Jesus becomes aware of the insidious temptations to be a slave to bread or power or prestige. Out of this awareness comes a commitment to a non-violent compassionate love rather than domination over others. One of the gifts of the forty days is the wisdom to identify and wrestle with the spirits and the power to overcome the evil one.

So Satan failed in all his attempts to get Jesus to sin. Jesus remained the spotless Lamb of God. He conquered temptation for us so that we could apply His strength, His perseverance and His victory, when we fight those same battles against the devil, the world and our flesh each and every day.

May our Lenten observance lead us to an awareness of the world and its challenges, so that we can wrestle with the important issues of our world and its people.

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