Our Lady of Fatima Church, White City
Private/Individual Prayer only
Wednesday: 10am – 11.50 am
Friday: 10am - 11 am &
5 pm - 5:50 pm
Saturday: 9:45 am - 11 am
Monday & Tuesday: 9:15 am
Ash Wednesday: 7.30 am, 12 noon & 6.30pm
Thursday: 9:15 am
Friday & Saturday: 9:15 am & 6:00 pm
Sunday: 9 am, 11 am (also livestreamed) & 6 pm
18th February 2024
1st SUNDAY of LENT - Into the Desert, into Battle!
Our Gospel reading on the 1st Sunday of Lent is always about Jesus’ temptation in the desert. This year we hear Mark’s version which is very short! In the Bible the desert is a place where God tests & teaches the people in his ways, just as when Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years. The Jewish people also saw the desert as a place of battle, an inhospitable place which seemed to be under the control of the evil one. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus urgently begins his mission by entering this “enemy territory” and so declaring war on Satan.
We read that Jesus was tempted by Satan - tried and tested like a contestant in a boxing or wrestling ring. The result of this first bout was victory to Jesus. We read that “he was with the wild beasts and the angels looked after him.” The angels are a sign of God’s support and care during the struggle. And the most likely meaning of the wild beasts is that they were with Jesus in peace, having lost their distrust and ferocity. This transforming presence of Jesus with the beasts in the untamed wilderness is the first sign that the peace of paradise is being restored through him. One day the lion will indeed lie down with the lamb!
So we are invited by Jesus to follow him into the desert as the first step of our Lenten pilgrimage. What does the desert mean for us? Where is my desert today? Perhaps we could understand these to be the places where we are often afraid to go – places/experiences we avoid. For some that might mean a particular family relationship or former friendship which has broken down. Or maybe it’s an important decision or commitment which I have been putting off for too long. For others it might mean our relationship with God – we wander around the edge, never allowing ourselves to get in too deep, for fear of what God might ask of us. So the desert here might mean taking the risk simply to sit in silence and stillness before God, or to come back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation after many years away. What is the desert in your life? Who/what are you avoiding? This Lent, let the Spirit guide you out into this ‘place’, then follow in the footsteps of Jesus so that through his grace your desert can be brought back to life!
With prayers - Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem, Deacon Robert and all the parish team.
We continue to pray for ‘light not heat’ in Israel and Gaza.
Here is a prayer we invite you to pray during these days for peace in the Ukraine - https://tinyurl.com/7bhz5pap
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
St. Maximillian Kolbe