As we enter Lent, there are many images it brings to mind – ashes, fasting, do’s and don’t’s, long prayers, devotions.

But if we read through God’s Word, we find experiences!  In Deuteronomy 6, the author narrates an experience so personal and so powerful that it continues to inspire.  He remembers how God made his goodness felt to his chosen people in the midst of their desert experience.

God called his people and made them prosper. He brought them out of slavery and made them victorious. He gave them a land to inhabit and possess.

The very first image of God is that of a savior who pours out his love and mercy on the people who rely on him alone.

The Gospel (Lk 4) brings us back to another experience – that of Jesus in the desert!  Again, what an inspiring narration. Riddled with temptations, the Lord emerged as conqueror of every fear and doubt. The Father and the Holy Spirit kept Jesus company and supported him in his every trial.

It will be good to remember our own experiences too this Lenten season. We have also our deserts.  Others have just started the journey, while some are already in the middle. Maybe others are lost in the vastness of their desert and are groping through darkness, cold and thirst.

A young man roaming the city in search of a job.  A woman wondering when she will be disease-free again. A priest in and out of the hospital for an ailment unknown. A woman and her children waiting for word about the drug pusher husband’s condition in jail.  We are like the Israelites. We are like Jesus in the desert.

We say that Lent is entering the desert of Jesus and joining him in his experience. I believe that Lent is Jesus walking towards us in our own desert, wrapping his arms around us and taking our hands to tell us we are loved, we are in the presence of God amidst our pains. All these will end, because God will not abandon us in our misery.

How beautiful is the responsorial psalm (Ps 9): Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.  I want to reflect silently on this….