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Arise and Shine: Luke 4:1-13

The other evening, I had the opportunity to worship and celebrate Mass with over 100 young adults in a chapel on the top floor of the Diocese of Orange’s Christ Cathedral “Tower of Hope.” The view was awe-inspiring. To my left, I could see Disneyland, The Anaheim Angels stadium, and the mountains in the distance. To my right, I could see the courthouse, jail, and Orangewood Children’s Home for abused and neglected youth. In one location: the happiest place on earth, and a few miles away: dwellings of fear and need.

That evening we gathered to pray over the city for a clearer vision of the mission God was calling us into individually and as a young adult community. Our priest started his homily and began to reflect on today’s Gospel, specifically Luke 4:5-8:

Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”

While looking over the vast city before our eyes, a call to mission resonated on my heart. I don’t know if I will ever hear this Gospel the same. During Adoration, every window I looked out reflected Christ in the Monstrance and His presence in the city. I felt the prayers in the room spreading over every single man and women in the city below.

I have seen some unbelievable views from the top of a building or mountaintop: Camelback Mountain and the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Montserrat in Spain, The Empire State Building in New York, or falling from a plane skydiving in California. I cannot even imagine the views Christ took into His sight in the instant the devil tempted Him with power and glory. Christ saw all the kingdoms of the world: every country and continent; every mountain and valley; every river and ocean. But He also saw every person He was on earth to serve and save from sin.

Jesus’ vision and mission were clear. Filled with the Holy Spirit, for 40 days He gained clear vision and full understanding of the mission God had for His life, death, and resurrection. (“Clear eyes-Full heart-Can’t loose” could’ve easily been Christ’s motto before Friday Night Light’s even existed.) It was a time when the Spirit led him, and He was tempted by the devil. It was a time to fast, pray, and listen to God’s voice. Pope Francis recalls the desert this way:

“The desert is the place where you can hear the voice of God and the voice of the tempter. In the noise and confusion, this cannot be done; we can only hear superficial rumors. Instead, in the desert, we can go deeper, where our destiny, life or death, is really played out. And how do we hear the voice of God? We hear it in His Word. It is, therefore, important to know the scriptures, because otherwise we do not know to respond to the attacks of the evil one. The Lenten desert helps us to say no to worldliness, to ‘idols’, it helps us to make courageous choices in accordance with the Gospel and strengthen solidarity with our brothers and sisters.” (Guard Your Heart)

You will face temptations this Lent that will go beyond breaking a fast or eating chocolate. As adults, we all face spiritual attacks that can blur our vision of God and the mission He has placed in our life and for our ministry. The Gospel even says, “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” (Luke 4:13) And we know the devil came back with a vengeance in the Garden of Gethsemane. The question is; are you struggling to hear the voice of God in the noise and confusion? Do you listen to the voice of the tempter louder than God? Be honest, who is speaking louder in your heart and mind as you enter into Lent?

God is calling you into the desert, to a mountaintop, on top of a city building, or into a grand canyon this Lent to help you gain or regain His vision and mission for you and your ministry. So get away even for an hour a week in front of the Blessed Sacrament to listen to His voice. Be on guard for the tempting voice of the evil one. Have a desert day where you take your Bible and a journal to a quiet place to be still with God. Do some spring-cleaning in your soul as well as your closets to clear your life and mind of the clutter and confusion that steals your peace and joy.

Lent cannot become just another programming instant in your life and ministry where you check off the list the fish fries, Reconciliation services, Stations of the Cross, and Passion plays. You must rediscover the vision of who God is calling you to be and the mission He is placing in your life.

 

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About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.