February 26, 2012 Leave a comment
The significance of the number 40 in Biblical literature is actually obvious in the Old and the New Testament.
For 40 years, Moses and the Israelites journeyed to the Promised Land.
The Babylonian exile lasted for about 40 years.
Jesus was tempted for 40 days in the desert.
But this actually makes me wonder, is this literally 40? 40 years ba gyod ni siya?
We should note that the Bible should be read contextually, not at all time literally. Maglibog ra mo.
Now the purpose of making that point is that we never actually know how many days the Lord was actually led by the Spirit to the desert to be tempted by the devil. The number 40 is a symbolic number; meaning, it connotes a long time. Taas-taas gyod ni nga panahon.
Since today is the First Sunday of Lent, and since we read today in our Gospel about the temptation of Jesus, we will try to connect this one to our celebration of Lent.
How are the forty days of Lent counted?
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, the date of which is also dependent on the date of Easter Sunday.
The forty days of Lent are actually the weekdays from Ash Wednesday up until Holy Saturday. The Sundays of Lent are not counted as Sundays are always considered mini-Easters. A weekday in the Church also counts Saturdays.
Now try counting the number of days from February 22 up to April 7, the last day of Lent. Exclude the Sundays in the counting.
This Lent, like Jesus Christ, we are faced with a lot of things. Attachments, temptations, everything this world offers.
My confessor told me today that while this may sound contradictory, we may have to be proud–proud of God, and at the same time, be cowards–cowards toward the things of the world which are often presented as lovely and blissful.
True bliss, happiness and joy will only be felt if we actually defeat the temptations with the help of God. One just has to note though that being tempted is not the sin; rather, what is not good is when we succumb to it. However weak we may be, we are always strengthened in the hope that we will be able to fight temptation. Jesus today gives us an example of how it is to defeat those things: by reforming our lives and believing in the Gospel (Mk. 1:15).
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