On this First Sunday of Lent we are invited to look at our need for conversion. Conversion can mean many things to us, but conversion is always deepest, most authentic, most true to the Biblical tradition when it is seen as God’s invitation to us. Conversion is the call to let God reveal our sinfulness to us and respond to that experience. When God reveals our sinfulness to us, it never comes in the form of condemnation or shame; rather God’s revelation that we have been sinful always comes in the form of an invitation to mercy. It comes in the form of God’s understanding of us. God’s forgiveness of us, and God’s acceptance and love of us as we are.
The deepest conversion takes place in us when we experience that we are loved even as sinners, not confirmed in our sinfulness, but loved as we are. When we discover at the very core of our being how good God is, how deeply God loves us, even on our sinfulness, we are moved to sorrow for our sins, we are moved to a change of heart and to growth and generosity, and that is what conversion is all about.
Let us take a few moments to consider what the sinfulness in Eden Garden really was. It really had to do not so much with disobedience but more with Adam and Eve’s unwillingness to be creatures of God, unwillingness to accept the limitations of being human. They wanted to be gods, they were unwilling to depend on God. God’s love and God’s mercy were not enough.
We have the reverse of this in the story of the temptations of Jesus because for Jesus the power of God was always enough. Jesus refused to turn stones into bread. Jesus refused to bow down and adore Satan to attain the kingdom of the world. Jesus refused to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple to prove that God would protect him. Jesus trusted in the power of God and depended on God to love and to care for him.
What about us? How can we remedy the sin of wanting to play God in our lives?we remedy this sin every time we pray. When we pray we acknowledge our dependence on God, that we are creatures, we are limited, we have needs, we are sinners, and, with Jesus, we acknowledge that God is enough.
We are called to forgiveness. We are called to accept forgiveness from God. And we are called to extend God’s forgiveness to others. But sometimes it is very hard to forgive. We cannot do it ourselves. We cannot push a button and become merciful. We need God’s help and we need to ask God for that gift. And God will give it to us if we ask with all or hearts.
May God bless you all
Your brother in Christ