Eucharistic Readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent: Year C:
“It is written, It is written, It is said. ” (Luke 4)
As very young men my brother and I would often travel with our dad on long road trips driving an 18 wheeler. We moved household goods for United Van Lines. On one occasion we took with us another young person whom I will call Boston. Boston was under 18 years of age at the time.
We found ourselves booked on a trip that took us through western Canada. We could not take Boston because he was under age with no ID and we would not be able to get him back into the U.S. All this took place well before today’s visa requirements. So we bought him a bus ticket from Sweetgrass, Montana to Seattle, Washington. My dad’s words to him was, “no matter what, he was to stay at the bus station in Seattle, no matter what.” We knew when he should be there and we would be there the same time. At least, that was the plan.
Boston was tempted by neighborhood gangs, and by a pretty lady to leave the bus station and go with them. He would not. He had my dad’s words still running through his head, “Don’t Leave the Bus Station.” Finally, The police came to investigate him because he just hung around and didn’t seem to leave. We were late getting into Seattle due to forest fires in western Canada. As we were descending down a down-town street, on our left we saw two policemen talking to Boston. My dad yelled out of the window, “He’s mine, I’m going to park and I’ll be right back.”
When we walked back to the bus station and claimed Boston I noticed that Boston had been crying. He then shared with me the events that took place, He said a group of young men came by and told him that he would have to leave because this was their turf. He was afraid but had to remain at the bus station like dad said. Next a young woman who worked there got off work an offered him her place to relax and that she would bring him back when we got there. But he stuck to my dad’s instruction to stay at the station.
He said what really broke him was the policemen approaching and asking him for identification. He had none and the day had been long waiting for us to show up. It was during the questioning of the police that they heard my dad’s voice say, “He’s mine, I’m going to park and I’ll be right back.”
Jesus anchored himself to the words of scripture which helped him overcome evil temptation. Three times he was tempted. Three times he remembered words from scripture and teachings that kept him from straying from safety. Boston was tempted three times to leave the bus station. But he was anchored to my dad’s words. All of us need words that assist us in doing what is right. Such words may come from a hymn, or a poem, or a Psalm, or a Bible passage, or the quote from a parent or pastor. The main thing is, that we ought to have an anchor to keep us secure during the storms and threats of life. And when you find yourself tempted, speak boldly about your conviction to stay the course.
I will again commend the Ukrainian people in their steadfast commitment to defend their homeland. I also commend the Russian citizens who protest against their government leaders who are bent on war and the destruction of Ukraine. Each of us ought to have a code of honor and of faith in which we live by. Such a code, or anchor, enables us to resist evil, even if it is from our own leaders, as we continue to honor God.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John