Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

Upgrading of the heating and lighting in the Cathedral is underway. The Cathedral is open for Masses and Confessions at the weekend, but is closed at all other times (including between Masses). Weekday Masses are now celebrated in the James Room, but note that there is currently no access to the upper car parks. Thank you for your understanding and support during this project.

 

Sunday 18th February 2018
First Sunday of Lent, Year B
Genesis 9: 8-15     1 Peter 3: 18-22     Mark 1: 12-15

Temptation.

Everyone has temptations. Some small, like an urge to eat all the chocolates in the box. Others great, like a tendency to get so wrapped up in myself that I fail to see the needs of others. Most of us will admit to certain weaknesses, but there are some temptations that we are really ashamed of and would not like the person next to us to know about. We feel so demeaned by this sort of temptation. If people knew about it they would surely change their opinion of me? And we wish we didn’t have it.

Lent teaches us three important lessons about temptations. The first is that no-one can escape them. However much we might like it to be otherwise, every one of us suffers temptations. It is part of our human nature that we have urges and desires to do things that we know to be wrong, know to be harmful to us in the end. It can be so hard for us to make a right judgement about the long term effects of our actions, rather than giving in to what seems to be good for us at the moment.

Lent’s second lesson is hard to grasp, and it seems incredible at first sight. It is that Christ, when tempted by Satan, experienced the depths of our temptations. The temptation which we are ashamed to talk openly about, the one we don’t want broadcast, that one was put before Jesus. It had to be if he was going to redeem it. If the only temptation Jesus ever suffered was the one about the chocolates in the box, then he would be powerless to know our real human nature and to conquer it. He had to sink lower. He had to be tempted at the very depths of human existence, to be brought to rock bottom. We begin Lent every year by reminding ourselves that Christ has conquered the worst of sin and evil.

The good news, and the third lesson, is that temptations are not sins. To be tempted is not to do wrong. However repulsive we may find temptations, if we do not give into them, then we have nothing to blame ourselves for. On the contrary, by examining carefully the sort of temptations we face, we can come to understand those areas of our life that need attention. By becoming spiritually aware of our danger areas, we can begin to work on our behaviour to change it for the better. The best thing to do with a temptation is to face it. The worst thing is to pretend it is not there. So Lent is a time for doing penance for our sin. But it is also a time for rejoicing in the fact that sin can no longer have any permanent hold over us if we live our lives for Christ.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2018