In this Sunday’s gospel, we witness Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days, signifying the start of the Lenten season.
When reading through this scripture, which we have all heard many times and no doubt are quite familiar with, there was a specific line that seemed to really strike me for the first time. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”
Opportune and, in turn, opportunity, derive from the Latin word opportunus meaning “favourable.” Thus, we often associate the words with positive feelings. The opportunity of a new job, the opportunity to travel, the opportunity to visit family and friends etc. However, in this case, we are reminded that the devil also looks for opportunities, to draw us away from goodness and from the lives God wants for us.
The Lenten season is an opportunity for us to reclaim our faith by reclaiming this word and using it for good. Just as Jesus does not allow the devil to have any power over him, we too, can take control and make intentional choices to help us get the most out of this season. We can take up the opportunities of prayer offered to us by our communities. We can take up the opportunity to fast and give alms. We can take up the opportunity to enter into the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We can take up any opportunity that turns us more fully towards God.
Let’s not forget we are relational people, called by God to love others. This season, we can also provide someone else with opportunities to encounter God’s goodness. You might invite somebody to Mass, Adoration, Lenten program etc. Through your kindness, you just might be the opportunity they have been looking for.
It is also important to always remember that we are human and sometimes we fall. What matters is that God always gives us the opportunity to get back up again.
Let’s be gentle with ourselves and others, especially as our world faces so much fear and uncertainty with all that is happening at this time. Keep praying.