Best Lent Ever: Prayer Changes Everything

(Homily for First Sunday of Lent Year A)

Message: Create a space free of distraction for 10 minutes of silence - communion with God. Ask him what he thinks you should do. Prayer changes everything.

Today we observe the First Sunday of Lent 2017. I invite you to make this The Best Lent Ever. At the end of the homily I will ask you to take your Mass Journal, a notebook, a scrap of paper or even your cell phone and write one thought - from the opening song, Mass prayers, Scripture reading or homily - one thought that will help you become the Best Version of Yourself.

You know, people will say, "Mass is boring," but do we really listen? Do we open ourselves to what God wants to say to us? Try it: just one thought to take to prayer.

On Ash Wednesday we heard Matthew Kelly speaking about putting ourselves in the middle of the mess of this world and making a difference, no matter how small. We saw how we can do this by taking a step of prayer, fasting or almsgiving - generosity.

Today we focus on prayer. Here's the question from Resisting Happiness:

Prayer changes everything; how has prayer impacted your life?

As Matthew Kelly says, "Nothing changes until we give daily prayer a place in our lives." He continues, "Take ten minutes to sit with God in silence. Present the biggest question you are struggling with at this time; and ask God, 'What do you think I should do?'"

Jesus took time in silence - not ten minutes, but forty days. He had just received John's baptism and needed time alone with his Father before launching his public ministry.

We see that the devil throws road blocks in the way. He wants to disturb our prayer - our communication with God. As Matthew Kelly says, "Resistance loves keeping us busy with anything but the one thing that will most help us grow."

I've noticed that when I sit down to pray, certain thoughts will flood my mind. I remember what I have in the refrigerator and how good a grilled cheese sandwich would taste. Or I start thinking about some task or maybe remember some put-down and how I could have responded.

Where does all this come from? Resistance hates prayer. Resistance knows that prayer can make all the difference. Ten minutes of silence - listening to God - can make all the difference.

Many of you made a commitment to join fellow parishioners in praying at 3 pm - the hour of divine mercy - to pray for our nation and its leaders. If you miss your specific time, do not give up. Pray in the evening or at the moment you can.

Notice that Jesus went out to the desert. When we pray we should create a space like a desert - free of distraction. I know that if I were to check email or take a quick look at the news, I would get drawn into a chain of distractions. So, no cell phone or computer in your prayer space. Those messages will wait 10 minutes or 20 or an hour.

Now, I know I said you can use phone at the end of the homily to write one way God is telling you how this week you can become the Best Version of Yourself. If you use a phone, transfer your thought to a notebook. Take what you write down and use it during your prayer this week.

I want you to have the Best Lent Ever. We can do this by following Jesus' example of going into the desert. Create a space free of distraction for 10 minutes of silence - communion with God. Ask him what he thinks you should do. Prayer changes everything. In the words of today's Psalm: "A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me." Amen.

(Pause) Now, take out your Mass Journal or notebook or even phone and write one idea you heard that will help you this week to become your best self.


Spanish Version

Homilies for First Sunday of Lent ("Temptation Sunday"):

2016 (Year C): First Things: Prayer
2015 (Year B): New Mind and Heart Week 1
2014 (Year A): Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 1
2013 (Year C): Do Not Talk to the Devil
2012 (Year B): The Convenant with Noah Today
2011 (Year A): The Purpose of Temptation
2010 (Year C): Who Is Like God?
2009 (Year B): Knee Mail
2008 (Year A): The Devil is a Logician
2007 (Year C): More Powerful than Satan
2006 (Year B): Sir, Go on the Other Side
2005 (Year A): The Temptation of Sloth
2004 (Year C): Temptation of Spirituality
2003 (Year B): Lent with C.S. Lewis
2002 (Year A): First Signs of Spring
2001 (Year C): How Satan Operates
2000 (Year B): The Rabbit's Foot
1999 (Year A): Original Sin & Temptation
1998 (Year C): Hidden Sin of Gluttony
1997 (Year B): Jesus' Temptation & Ours

From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):

Best Lent Ever: Even Now
First Things
New Mind and Heart
Go to Your Inner Room
Return to Me
The Purpose of Lent
Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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