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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Knowing Your Touchstones

First Sunday of Lent

“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. Luke 4:12

In the chapter of Luke preceding today’s Gospel, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and began his adult ministry. Immediately afterward he was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tested. While this might seem almost surreal as we imagine the devil taking Jesus from place to place, it is really much more simple and common than that. For many of us, as we strive to live our lives, we deal with many temptations. Sometimes it is a matter of having the zeal and desire, but not the practical experience or knowledge to carry out a goal. Other times, we are afraid to ask for the assistance that we need to carry a project through to completion. Or we might think that we deserve more, or that our results should be happening more quickly. Our egos can be destructive.

When Jesus found himself tested by the devil, he was given several different scenarios. The devil brought up situations that he knew could specifically test Jesus, but similar situations would test any of us. Physical hunger is a real need, and many of us might yearn for success, or better paying jobs, or power, or the like. The difference is that when Jesus was tempted, he had some strong “touchstones” to hold onto, secure answers to lead him. He went to simple, basic scriptures that he could call upon in his time of need. For many, one of those basics would be Jeremiah, “I know the plans | have in mind for you—plans for peace and not disaster.” For another it might be the Beatitudes or the twenty-third Psalm. Whatever it may be, have ready those touchstones, those “go to” prayers or phrases that you can hold onto during the times when you are sorely tested in your life. Let those stones be your firm foundation.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18; Ps 19:8-10, 15; Mt 25:31-46
Tuesday: Is 55:10-11; Ps 34:4-7, 16-19; Mt 6:7-15
Wednesday: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11:29-32
Thursday: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8; Mt 7:7-12
Friday: Ez 18:21-28; Ps 130:1-8; Mt 5:20-26
Saturday: Dt 26:16-19; Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8; Mt 5:43-48
Sunday: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-9, 13-14; Phil 3:17 — 4:1 [3:20 — 4:1]; Lk 9:28b-36

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: First Sunday of Lent; Girl Scouting Sunday
Monday: Ss. Perpetua and Felicity; Julian calendar Lent begins
Tuesday: St. John of God
Wednesday: St. Frances of Rome
Friday: Abstinence