Sermon Reflection for Sunday, March 10, 2019 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley
Mother Mary began by reminding us of the previous events in Jesus’ life. Jesus, born of Mary, grows in wisdom and at 30 years old, asks John the Baptist to baptize him. John is surprised and though he feels unworthy, complies with Jesus’ request. At his baptism God speaks and declares that “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus has no doubt who he is and what he is to do. His identity was established at his baptism and he knows who and whose he is.
Today’s Gospel reading picks up following this baptism. Luke recounts Jesus’ time in the wilderness where he was tempted and tested by Satan. This wilderness experience lasted 40 days and Jesus was tempted to feed himself by turning rocks into bread, to accept the gift of authority over all the kingdoms of the world, and to throw himself from the highest point on the temple and challenge God to send angels to lift him. At each temptation Jesus responded with scripture that made it clear he knew who and whose he was.
In times of temptation, we are asked to turn away from God and to trade the temporary for the eternal. Giving in to temptation means turning away from God. God longs for a relationship with us and we must cling to him when we feel vulnerable. We must not forget who and whose we are.
At this point Mother Mary shared two instances of when her identity was threated and she felt vulnerable. Upon filing her income taxes, she learned that her SSN had been hijacked and used by someone else to file for HER tax refund. Sometime later she discovered that someone in Texas had charged four new lines and phones to her AT&T bill. These incidents made her wary and particularly vulnerable to those scam emails that warn of some security breech and entice one to share personal information. She reacted out of her vulnerability.
Though we may be shaken in our identity, Jesus was not. He held fast to his calling and did not turn away. We are weak and often forget who and whose we are so we need daily reminders to keep us aware. We must be reminded that we “are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever.” Mother Mary asked us all to make the mark of the cross on our foreheads to remind us that we are indeed his children.
As we take on a Lenten discipline, you are invited to think about what may remind us of our identity and that which will carry on beyond the season of Lent into our daily lives. This discipline may be something…scripture, prayer, meditation…that will remind us daily of who and whose we are.