Beginning Lent

1st Sunday of Lent
Friends in Christ, in today’s first reading, we read about Noah and the Ark. This story tells us that because there was so much sin in the world, there would be a flood; God would begin a new creation. Noah warned all the wicked people, but they did not listen, even after it began to rain.
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So Noah and his family stayed safely in the ark as the waters rose; the ark was raised up and carried on the water during the storm. 40 days it rained and rained. When the rain had stopped, Noah sent out a dove to see if there was any land, there was. And so Noah and his family were able to go out of the ark; and they were very happy in the new creation, a whole new beginning without any evil.
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Friends in the Lord, this event was remarkable for sure, but it was also a sign in the holy bible to teach us. What do we learn?
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Noah is the Just Man who saves his family, and so he is a sign of Jesus who will save us. His family is a sign of all of us, and the ark in which they are kept safe signifies the Church. The evil people who lived then, who were against Noah, they represent the devils. The dove sent out signifies the Holy Spirit who leads us to the New Creation; and the New Creation is a sign of heaven, our goal.
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So then, just as Noah guided his family in the ark, Jesus guides us, his family, in the Church. That ark was tossed in the storm for 40 days; so too, we begin Lent which is for 40 days.
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St. Augustine teaches, that the period of Lent symbolizes this present life, with all of its trials, suffering, and temptations; Easter represents the next life: heaven.
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This life has many difficulties, but if we persevere and fight against our temptations, we will reach the New Creation, the Eternal Easter of heaven. Lent is the time when we really try to become a better Christian; we do some penances, give alms, and pray more.
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Many people do some kind of mortification for Lent. Children sometimes give up candy for lent, or their favorite video game. One boy I know is going to sleep on the hard floor instead of his bed all of Lent, as a sacrifice. Some people give up coffee, or television, or desert. In any case, it is good to commit to some kind of a sacrifice, and really stick with it. Of course the most important thing to give up is our sins!
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We see Jesus in the gospel today is in the desert, and he fights against Satan’s temptations. He is teaching us to do the same, to fight against our favorite sin. St. Alphonsus says that if we don’t deny ourselves legitimate things sometimes, we won’t have the strength to say ‘no’ to temptation.
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Noah’s family made it to the New Creation because they stayed in the ark during the storm. We must stay in the Church then, with Jesus the captain of our ship; the devil keeps trying to pull us out of the ship by sin, So? Let us do battle this Lent against this fool.
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And one of the best helps in fighting temptation, is to call on the Blessed Virgin. St. Thomas of Villanova says, when we are tempted by the devil, we should imitate little chickens, which as soon as they perceive approaching danger, they run under the wings of their mother. When we feel temptation, we should run to the arms of Our Mother Mary, and then she will keep us ever-faithful to Jesus.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of Venerable Mother Dudzek]

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