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Many people, including many Catholics do not understand the concept of offering. Recently the country’s top leader questioned the practice of giving to the church and attempted to sow rumors on how church leaders steal the people’s offering. Sadly, many Catholics remained silent and respectful as their own church was being morally dismantled. Or maybe they too, did not understand why they must offer something of wealth, time and talent to the Lord and to his community.

As we begin Lent, the first reading from Deuteronomy clarifies that an offering to God, though it it voluntary and must come from the heart, is something that ought to be done in our relationship with him. When we make an offering to the Lord, it does not benefit the Lord. In fact, it benefits us by reminding us of who we are, and what the Lord is doing for us each day.

When you offer to the Lord, even the simplest gift, you remember that you are his cherished creation, his favorite child, who he rescues day by day from the many trials and difficulties that come. It is because God is kind to us that we must be generous in acknowledging his presence and providence in our lives. Ask yourself, when has God last abandoned you?

This week the gospel speaks to us of temptations. Jesus had his own temptations. We wrestle day by day with temptations that seek to lure us into sin and destroy our relationship with God and other people, and even with our very selves! The example of Jesus is splendid. He rebuked temptation as it was just starting. He did not allow the tempter to take hold of his mind and heart.

St. Ignatius teaches us the same. When temptations manifest themselves, stop it immediately and the enemy will be revealed for what he truly is – a weak tempter who becomes strong only when we entertain him.

Why don’t we resist temptations by making an offering to God each day? As we wake up, offer the whole day to him. Throughout the day, keep close to him through short prayers and words of trust. In trying moments, run to the foot of the cross and offer to the Lord your desire not to be separated from him. Lord, give me the grace to defeat temptations with the power of my offering and sacrifice to you!