During Lent we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. Traditionally we do this by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But today’s readings offer a way to start our Lenten observance, with a declaration of faith.
A profession of faith accompanies Israel’s offering. By reciting, in a very abbreviated form, the saving work of God they not only recall their gifts of freedom and land but their offering of the first fruits of the harvest becomes a symbol of their faith.
Like the ancient Hebrews Jesus begins His ministry with a homeless wandering in the desert. In both instances it was a time of temptation and testing. Jesus is fully human and we should not underestimate the temptations He experienced after a month of fasting. Yet with each temptation He is offered He responds with words that are a declaration of faith.
By declaring our faith, that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead, we are saying that the Resurrected One is Lord over all the earth, over our hearts and our life, and we recall the gifts and blessings He has given to us.
Throughout this season of Lent let us remember all that God has done for us and bless Him for it in our prayer. Let us remember all those that are undergoing hardship when we fast. And let us do whatever we can to alleviate that hardship in our almsgiving. In this way we declare our faith and strengthen ourselves against temptation.