METROPOLITAN STEFAN’S GREAT FAST MEDITATION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
The Great Fast is a gift to you and to me, offering us an opportunity to examine the way we follow Jesus Christ in our day-to-day life. A meaningful journey through Lent ought to unsettle our comfort zones. One of these comfort zones might be an attitude which can overtake us all, that of living in a manner which reflects an attitude of entitlement. Recall how Jesus was tempted three times by the devil. In the first temptation, Jesus was asked to turn the stones into loaves of bread. Jesus replied, “Man does not live by bread alone”. In the second temptation, Jesus was asked to worship the devil. Jesus answered, “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve Him alone”. In the third temptation, Jesus was told to throw himself off the top of the synagogue so that God would send his angels to save him. Jesus answered, “You must not put the Lord your God to the test”.
Three times Jesus was tempted to make himself equal to God. Three times he rejected the temptation and chose God’s way of doing things, God’s will for him. And what about us? When we choose to live as if more is better, and that luxuries are really necessities, which are we choosing, God or ourselves? We can also believe that with power and resources, we can accomplish much more. Who are we choosing, God or ourselves, when we get what we want in less than desirable ways as long as we have a good purpose in the getting? Do we count on our prayers to God to make everything right after having ourselves contributed to the development of difficult situations, perhaps by choosing to ignore our own or others’ needs? Let’s remember Jesus’ answer, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”.
Great Fast is a gift to continually ask ourselves, “God or ourselves?”