13-Feb-2018     Dear Friend,
Children hate tests and detest exams. Few people like to be tested and 
evaluations are not gladly welcomed. Yet we know a person’s worth only when 
they have undergone tough trials. Athletes show their mettle when they are 
tested in competition with the best. In the spiritual life we know how strong 
or weak we are when we are tested by temptations. If we are never tempted or 
tried we would never know our strengths and weaknesses. Tests are not meant to 
make us fail but to strengthen us. Have a holy testing time this Lent! -Fr. Jude
Sun. Refl. 1st Sunday of Lent “God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent and believe!” 
18-Feb-2018Gen: 9: 8-15;          1 Peter 3: 18-22;          Mark 1: 12-15;
The first reading from Genesis reminds us that Noah alone was spared during the 
flood. God made a promise, a covenant that man would not be destroyed by the 
floodwaters and the sign of his covenant was the rainbow. God is faithful to 
his promise and each time we see a rainbow, it should remind us of a God who is 
faithful to His promise. All kinds of situations test us and there are times we 
may falter and fail, we may be unfaithful to God, but God will not destroy us, 
He is faithful to his promise, He will save us.

Is Jesus knocking?A paediatrician would plug his stethoscope into his little 
patient’s ears to let them listen to their own heartbeats. Their eyes would 
always light up in awe. He was taken aback one day when he placed the disk over 
little Sylvia’s heart. “Listen” said the doctor. “What do you suppose that is?” 
Sylvia listened carefully to the tap-tap-tapping in her chest and cried, “Is 
that Jesus knocking?” During Lent Jesus is knocking at my heart so that I might 
love like him and allow my heart to be opened to His. True, rendering, 
repenting and re-turning must come from my heart. Only then will I understand 
the reassurance of rainbows and the welcoming warmth of spring –in my 
heart.Francis Gonsalves in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’
The Gospel reminded us that the spirit led Jesus to be tempted and he was in 
the desert amidst wild beasts but at the same time angels were ministering unto 
him. All through our life we are tempted and that in itself is not a bad thing. 
It is how we deal with temptations that really matters. We are tempted to 
compromise on values, to go by the popular majority, to do the easy or more 
convenient thing rather than what is right and proper. While we may be 
surrounded by evil forces we are also supported by God’s help. The wild beasts 
and the angels will always be there in the desert experience. We too have to go 
through periodic training periods of discipline and testing called Lent. We too 
have to be ready to do battle with Satan and evil in this world. We consider it 
criminal if a soldier is sent to war without basic training, or to send a 
doctor into an operating theatre without adequate schooling and internship. Yet 
we casually assume that we can fight evil in us and around us without taking 
Lent seriously.
Vision QuestA young man in his mid-twenties works with the youth of his parish. 
But that was not always his goal or ambition. He had been frittering away his 
life, he said, living only for the present. A few years ago he accepted an 
invitation to join a group of people going to the Virginia Mountains to make a 
"Vision Quest." After a couple days of training in survival tactics and the 
discipline of spiritual exercise, the participants were sent out individually 
to spend four days by themselves in the mountainous wilderness. The young man 
shared some of the events of those days with a group of people gathered to 
reflect on today's Gospel. First, he said, there was the extraordinary quiet 
and a lack of the usual distractions; no TV, radio, computers, video games, 
phones, and the devices that have become part of our daily hectic lives. It 
was, he said, so quiet. He began to hear sounds he might ordinarily have 
missed: the breeze, songs of distant birds, his footsteps, insects and his own 
breathing. He also began to hear his inner voice. Questions were being put to 
him about his life. He found that being in the wilderness was a chance to do 
some serious thinking for the first time in his adult years. A couple things he 
saw in nature got him thinking. One day he came across a dead horse rotting in 
a field and a few moments later he saw a fragile new-born doe. These 
contrasting sights stirred questions in him about his basic life assumptions. 
He realized, when he reflected on the sight of the dead horse, that he had been 
investing his life in passing realities. The doe reminded him how fragile life 
is, especially young life. He decided during those four days, to turn his life 
around and dedicate himself to ministering to youth. He would quit his job; 
accept a lower paying position to be a youth minister in his parish. We asked 
if he had found being alone in the wilderness dangerous. "No," he said, "All 
the while I felt as if the wilderness were sustaining me." Maybe that's what it 
means when it says today that angels ministered to Jesus in the desert. We may 
not be able to go off to the mountains, but we could decide to set some extra 
time aside to pray and listen.Anonymous
Clothing ourselves in newnessOnce, a king was walking through the streets of 
the capital city when he came upon a beggar. The beggar asked him for money. 
But the king didn’t offer him any money. Instead, he invited him to visit him 
in his palace. The beggar took up the king’s offer. On the appointed day he 
made his way to the royal palace, and was duly ushered into the king’s 
presence. However, as he came into the king’s presence, he became acutely 
conscious of his rags and felt ashamed of them. Those rags were an eloquent 
symbol of his misery and wretchedness of his life. The king, an exceptionally 
kind man, received him warmly, took pity on him, and among other things gave 
him a new suit of clothes. The beggar departed the royal palace in good 
spirits. However, a few days later, he was back to begging on the streets, 
dressed in his old rags. Why did he give up the new suit? Because he knew that 
if he wore it, he would have to give up the life of a beggar and make a new 
life for himself. This he was not prepared to do. It wasn’t that the new life 
did not appeal to him. It was just that he knew that it would involve painful 
changes in his behaviour and way of living.Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sunday & Holy 
Day Liturgies’
What profound Humility!I read recently that Copernicus, the great astronomer, 
wrote a masterpiece entitled The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies. When he was 
dying, we are told that a copy of that scholarly masterpiece was placed in his 
hands, so that he could treasure his finest achievement in his last moments and 
enjoy both solace and pride. Much as he valued that outstanding work, 
Copernicus had other things on his mind. Calling a friend, he requested that 
the following epitaph be placed on his grave at Frauenberg: “O Lord, the faith 
thou didst give to St. Paul, I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. 
Peter, I dare not ask; but, Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the repentant 
thief, that Lord, show to me!” What profound humility! What amazing faith!James 
Valladares in ‘Your Words O Lord Are Spirit, and They Are Life’
I am guilty and richly deserve all that I get!One day Frederick William I 
visited a prison at Potsdam and listened to a number of pleas for pardon from 
prisoners who had grievances against the law’s injustice. All said they had 
suffered imprisonment on account of prejudiced judges, perjured witnesses, and 
unscrupulous lawyers. From cell to cell the tale of wronged innocence 
continued, until the King stopped at the door of one cell inhabited by a surly 
inmate who said nothing. Surprised at his silence Frederick said jocularly, 
“Well I suppose you are innocent too.” “No, your Majesty”, was the startling 
response; “I am guilty and richly deserve all that I get.” On hearing this, the 
King shouted at the jail authorities and asked them to set the prisoner free. 
The prisoner who admitted his guilt showed certain potential for improvement. 
The others were not likely to change.Francis Xavier in ‘Inspiring Stories for 
Successful Living’
Get behind me Satan!A husband was struggling to make ends meet at home on one 
salary. Then one day he had to confront his wife with a receipt for a $250.00 
dress she had bought. “How could you do this?” “I was outside the store looking 
at the dress in the window, and then I found myself trying it on,” she 
explained. “It was like Satan whispering in my ear, “You look fabulous in that 
dress. Buy it!” “Well,” the husband replied, “You know how I deal with that 
kind of temptation. I say, Get behind me Satan!” His wife replied, “I did that, 
but then he said, it looks fabulous from the back too!”J. Pichappilly in ‘The 
Table of the Word’
TemptationsThere is a story about a bird that saw a cat carrying a can of 
worms. The worms made the bird’s mouth water, so he asked the cat how much each 
cost. The cat said it was very cheap, only a feather per worm. So the bird 
plucked one feather and gave it to the cat. A little later, he again craved for 
a worm, so he plucked another feather and bought another worm. His cravings 
were not satisfied, so he kept buying worms with his feathers. He never 
realized he was losing his feathers, and when he saw the cat about to prey on 
him, he could not fly away to escape the cat anymore. –The point is clear that 
temptation is a fact of life. It is everywhere. Nobody is really strong in the 
face of temptation. Temptation is tasty because it is always sugar-coated with 
a promise of pleasure. We must be careful always lest we fall.J. Pichappilly in 
‘The Table of the Word’
May we fight against temptations and never give up with God’s help!
Fr. Jude Botelho
PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been 
collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and 
from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever 
possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you 
could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in 
these reflections. These reflections are also available on my Web site 
www.NetForLife.net Thank you.

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