“Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1b-2a
When I am tempted to be afraid… to blame others… to hold on to resentment… to criticize and deride those whose opinions, religions, lifestyles are different from mine… to flirt with self-pity…
… I will call on the Lord for help.
Today I will remember that temptation comes from within. I will ask God’s Spirit to lead me out of the desert of panic, anger, negative judgment, and despair to a place of peace, kindness, compassion, and acceptance.
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God and God in him. 1 John 4:16b
I abide in love when I treat others with compassion, patience, and respect. I abide in love when I graciously receive help or kindness from another. I abide in love when I spend quiet time in prayer with the Lord—alone or with others.
Today I will pray to be filled with God’s kindness and patience. I will pray to give and receive love wherever I go.
Jesus said to his disciples, “This I command you: love one another.” John 15:17
I count 18 instances of the word “love” in today’s readings.
The message is very clear.
Today I choose love in its many forms: listening attentively to others, speaking respectfully to everyone I encounter, helping someone in need, thanking others for their help, treating all people with kindness and courtesy, refraining from gossip and negative criticism, rejoicing in the beauty of creation, spending quiet time alone with the Lord.
Let us be the family of the Lord. Let us love one another. Let us pray for our enemies. Let us help the poor and the homeless, the refugees and immigrants. Let us comfort the lonely and grief-stricken. Let us welcome the rejected and abandoned. Let us show compassion to the suffering. Let us forgive those who have hurt us.
[… Jesus said,] “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:34b-35