Last week’s reflection suggested the adoption of a specific approach to Lent so that by the time Ash Wednesday arrived we would be in a positive, pro-active, frame of mind. Some words from this Sunday’s

OPENING PRAYER brings everything together in a simple, clear, way. Therein we pray that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ.”

Last week we mentioned that the Lord – not our penances / spiritual exercises – had to be our primary focus, and we had to discover a place for him. In this discovery we grow in understanding and the riches of Christ do not remain hidden.

Of course, we must ensure – right from the start of Lent – that we ourselves do not become ‘hidden’ from God-in-Christ. Transparency is a popular contemporary and politically correct word. Well, the riches of Christ become, with a little honest effort, easily transparent – provided we make ourselves transparent to

HIM. Lent is a time for transparency!

If you read

OUR OLD TESTAMENT EXTRACT [GENESIS 2: 7 – 9; 3: 1 – 7] you should notice – in the first section – the transparency of God. He had provided for us everything that was good and attractive but there was a limitation placed on our use of it all. He was in no way hidden.

Then, see the craftiness of the serpent. He was not transparent – he had a definite but secret and hidden agenda. {Prepare yourselves for the General Election

Campaign!} However, Adam and Eve failed to look beyond the immediate which was good and a delight to the eyes. Do not make the mistake of placing all the responsibility on Eve. Adam was not forced in any way – he took and ate.” There was no ‘forced feeding’. Suddenly, in the face of deliberate deception, they chose to hide themselves from the transparency of God – and as a result – the riches of God became hidden …. and now have to be rediscovered by each one of us. The Lenten Season provides us with the opportunity of discovery, but we have to make ourselves transparent to him.

OUR GOSPEL READING [MATTHEW 4: 1 – 11]

reproduces a very similar story but with one important and vital difference. The serpent, far from transparent, is again active with the same secret and hidden agenda. Everything he presented to Jesus appears good and a delight to the eyes. However, the Lord keeps his focus on the treasures of the Father. These are never hidden from him and he never hides himself. Listen carefully to the dialogue between Jesus and the devil. The devil’s lack of transparency is recognised by Jesus on each occasion. We have to learn (and discover the way of doing so) to recognise the lack of transparency in so much of what is presented to us as good and a delight to the eyes. Jesus, throughout, remains transparent. The devil’s bluff is called – as it should have been called by Adam and Eve. We have to learn how to call ‘the serpent’s’ bluff. Lent provides the opportunity for us to sharpen our abilities to recognise the bluff and name it for what it is – as Jesus did! EVIL HAS TO BE NAMED BY EACH ONE OF US! Even ‘little’ evils must be recognised, named and rejected.

No evil should be dallied with.