Participatory Attunement

Homily preached   by the Rev. James La Macchia
Trinity Parish of Newton Centre
February 14, 2016
The First Sunday of Lent-Year C

Deuteronomy 26: 1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4: 1-13

My Friends:

christs-temptation-in-the-wilderness-montreal1Although it may strike us moderns as odd that the Holy Spirit, in this morning’s Gospel, “leads” the newly-baptized Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil, it would have been the expected next stop for Jesus in the Mediterranean culture of his times, especially in light of Jewish apocalyptic expectations then.  God, after all, had just designated Jesus as the “beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” at his baptism, and now, God was about to prove it.  And what better place to do it than in the desert, the historic testing-place for the Jewish people as a whole, and individually for their prophet ancestors such as Abraham and Moses and Elijah, whose lives of faithfulness to God in adversity Jesus would have been expected to recapitulate?  For people in Jesus’ world, the desert and the wilderness were the special haunts of all sorts of malevolent spirits.  So, if Jesus were truly the “Messiah” of God, who would do decisive battle with evil and defeat it once and for all time through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, then the desert would be the proving ground for this victory at the very outset of his public ministry. Continue reading

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Redemption from Sin and Death

Sermon for Sunday, February 22, 2015
Lent 1B

At first glance, this morning’s readings look to be about sin and death.   The Genesis reading is part of the flood story, which wiped out all humankind save Noah’s family. The lesson from 1 Peter speaks of Christ suffering for sins, and how he was “put to death in the flesh.” And this morning’s Gospel lesson introduces the personification of sin himself, Satan, who tempts Jesus in the wilderness.   At first glance, this morning’s readings look to be about sin and death. But if I look more closely at this morning’s readings I begin to see that today’s readings are not so much about sin and death as they are about redemption and life. Continue reading