The Church has entered a new season. It is called Lent. Every time the Church season changes, the colour changes, too. You will notice that the priest wears purple now instead of green. Purple tells us that we are in a time of preparation. We are preparing for the greatest feast--the feast of Easter. At Easter, we will celebrate in a special way Jesus dying and rising to new life--never to die again! But before we celebrate, we prepare. There will be six purple Sundays to prepare for the feast.
This first Sunday of Lent, we hear about what happens right after Jesus is baptized.
After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.
The Holy Spirit drives Jesus? There are no cars in the time of Jesus! We cannot even see the Holy Spirit. What can this mean?
When someone drives us in a car we move very quickly. We do not decide where the car goes. The driver takes us wherever the driver wants us to go.
The Holy Spirit moves Jesus very quickly into the wilderness. Jesus does not decide where he goes. God decides. God wants Jesus to go into the wilderness. I wonder why.
He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
What is this wilderness place? It has the word wild in it, just like the beasts. This place is not tame like a pet dog or a pet cat. Tame animals look to humans to feed them, but wild beasts find food that God provides. There are no humans here in this wilderness to make it tame. The wilderness does not need humans to feed it or make it grow. The wilderness does not do what humans want; the wilderness does only what God wants.
In the wilderness, Jesus is with the wild beasts. He finds food that God provides. He does not do what other humans want. He learns to do only what God wants. We know God wants Jesus to go into the wilderness. Maybe this is why.
It cannot be easy being in the wilderness. I wonder if sometimes Jesus feels wild. I wonder if he gets frustrated and angry, if he screams and cries and yells. There is no one there to hear him. Only God. In the wilderness, when he stops all his noise, Jesus listens to God. I wonder if God wants to be alone with Jesus when he is feeling wild.
Sometimes we can feel frustrated and angry. Sometimes we scream and cry and yell. Maybe when we feel wild, God wants to be alone with us. Maybe when we are sent to our room, maybe when we have to go into 'time out', maybe the Holy Spirit drives us there. Maybe this is the wilderness, and God is there, to be alone with us. Maybe when we stop all our noise, we listen to God.
It sounds like God really wants time alone with Jesus. It seems like God really wants time alone with us. In Lent, we don't have to wait to feel wild to be alone with God. We can make a wilderness for God, a place with no other people around. It could be in our bedroom, or a corner of a family room. It could have something purple to remind us of the season. It just has to be a place all by ourselves with God.