March 5, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT –  CYCLE “A” –  3/5/17  –  SMG

+ Pax et Bonum!     Peace and goodness to you this day!

Last week, I was channel-surfing on the TV, and I went up into those channels that I never watch.  I didn’t even know what most of them were.  And I thought, who watches these channels?  And how do they sell commercials on some of these channels, that a lot of people don’t even know exist?  And one channel that I found, was called the Game Show Network.  Seriously, there’s a whole channel devoted to just game shows, and old game shows at that!  I couldn’t believe it.  And one of the game shows that was on the Game Show Network, was the old “Let’s Make A Deal” with Monty Hall.  Do you remember that one?  I started watching one of the really old reruns, and then I remembered how much our family liked to watch that show together, when I was growing up.  On “Let’s Make A Deal”, they would ask the audience who had some bizarre thing with them or on them.  And people wore crazy costumes to attract attention.  And if you had the crazy item, you could trade it for what was behind door number one, or door number two, or door number three.  But as everybody who was watching knew, behind two of the doors were fabulous prizes, but behind one of the doors, was the gag prize, something nobody wanted.  The gag prize could be anything: a rusty tractor, or a year’s supply of tax forms, or a stuffed goat!  And then once you won one of the fabulous prizes, they would give you a chance again to trade for something better, however, that chance of getting the gag prize, was always there.  And that was when the show was terribly sad, when someone gave up their newly-won, awesome prize, like a brand-new boat, or a fantastic new car, or a once in lifetime trip to Tahiti, for a stuffed goat!

I thought a lot about that old game show, “Let’s Make A Deal”, when I read this weekend’s readings.  Our God offers us all so much!  Eternal life is going to be so much better than a new boat or a new car.  We must keep our eyes set on the big goal, and not be distracted by passing things.  There’s a wonderful quote that says “Never give up what last forever, for the passing things that last only for a short time.”  This should be something that we remember as Catholic Christians, every day of our lives.

Our First Reading today gives us the example of Adam and Eve.  And you know, Adam and Eve have it pretty good.  They are living in paradise.  They aren’t paying a thing.  Neither one of them has to work.  They don’t have to worry about clothes or doing the laundry.  They have a really good life.  And it’s a life, a deal, that God intended to last forever.  It was a good life!  They could have anything that they wanted to eat, at any time, EXCEPT for that fruit from the tree in the center of the garden.  It sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  They have paradise!  God’s not asking them to obey all Ten Commandments, and He’s not asking them to come to Church once a week, and He’s not asking them to give to Fruitful Harvest!  All they have to do is obey that one rule!  And they can’t do it!  They give up eternal paradise and a free ride forever, for an apple.  It’s not a good deal.  Monty Hall would feel sorry for them!

Then, we come to Jesus, Who is being tempted by the Devil himself in our Gospel from St. Matthew.  And Jesus is a lot smarter than Adam and Eve.  Jesus knows that things that the devil is offering are temporary.  And yes, Jesus is God.  And He is perfect.  And there’s no way that He’s going to fall for the lies of the devil.  Jesus knows that you don’t give up what last forever for anything that is passing!  But He also knows that temptations are real, and being fully God and fully human, Jesus finds out first-hand what you and I know every day: temptations sure make it harder to do the right thing.

Because Jesus knows, isn’t He exactly the One that we want helping us, when we are tempted?  We have a God Who can relate to being tired, to being hungry, to being weak, AND to being tempted.  That’s the God that I want helping me every day.  As we are still in our first few days of Lent, during this holy season let us ask for His help when we are tempted.  We don’t have to sin.  God is offering us salvation and eternal life.  Why in the world would we want anything of lesser value, for cheap passing pleasure?  Stick with real thing, or you might get the gag prize!

+ May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit..                                         AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                  Pray for us !!!