Baptism is at the heart of the Lenten season. Lent is the time when Catechumens, those who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil, prepare to enter into the Church. Those of us who are already baptized are also called to renew our Baptismal promises at Easter. Our white baptismal garments are soiled; our relationship with God is often broken by sin. It is time to convert our hearts and to ask God to “Lead us back to you, O LORD, that we may be restored” (Lamentations 5:20).
As the first reading tells us today, pride is the root of all sin. Adam and Eve, even though they walked with God, thought that they could survive without God. They believed the lies of the devil This led them to disobey their Creator. They refused to recognize their sin before God. They were cast out of the garden into a desert.
In today’s Psalm, however, we learn that turning to God saying; “against you alone I have sinned” is the first step to conversion. Humility is the key to turning away from sin. It is the first step back to the garden. ‘Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that just as original holiness was lost through Adam disobedience; our salvation was won through the obedience of Jesus Christ. In baptism our holiness is restored. The gates of heaven are opened to us.
But we are still tempted by sin. In today’s Gospel, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert. Although Jesus could not sin, he was tempted three times by the devil. In the first temptation, when the devil tells Jesus to make bread from stones, Jesus answers , “ One does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”
Jesus is the Word made flesh. We receive the word fully in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the very bread of life. That is why the Catechumens and Candidates, who knock on the doors of the Church, are hungry for the Eucharist. They have feasted on Christ in the liturgy of the Word. It is in the scriptures that they have met Christ. Now they wait with great longing to be admitted to the table of our Lord. It is there that Christ becomes receivable, knowable, and touchable.