First Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent

Jesus: The Father’s Portrait

“He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan…” Mark 1:13

Jesus’ three temptations in the desert were about choosing “upward mobility.” Be relevant: do something the world will praise you for like making bread out of stones. Be spectacular: jump from the tower so that everybody can see you as someone so influential, so important. Be powerful: kneel before me and I will give you dominion over everyone and everything. But Jesus said, “No.” Because Jesus knew that God’s way is not to be relevant, or spectacular, or powerful. God’s way is downward. “Blessed are the humble. Blessed are the poor of heart. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Here we have a self-portrait of the Jesus who is also a reflection of the Father: “Who sees me sees the Father.” When we read the Beatitude, we are given an image of the face of Jesus, a face that reflects the love of the Father. Humble. Poor. Meek. Peacemaker. Thirsting for justice and peace. Full of mercy. Jesus invites you and I to become more and more like he was: the image of God appearing in flesh among us. To follow him is our way: The way to glory.

  • Jesus, let me abandon my fear, embrace your love, and be transformed by your grace.

Lenten Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen