The message of Lent:
To accept Jesus as Lord is to put him at the centre of our life, to see Christ as the great gift of our existence. It affects commitment, marriage, family, work and play to accept him, and him alone, as our Savior, and a willingness to confront and master temptation at every turn.
In our second reading this Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, St Paul reminds us that salvation in Christ is personal, deeply internal, a question of heart and lips. Salvation, for Paul, consists in a personal appropriation of what Christ has done for us. What Paul means by faith is a deep adherence and commitment to the Lord Jesus, who alone justifies and saves. This is a salvation open to all people, not the Jews exclusively. This is the individual dimension of salvation.
In our first reading this Sunday, Deuteronomy sets forth the collective dimension of salvation. We are saved as a people, as a community, as a family, not just as individuals. The Hebrew believer presented a part of the annual harvest to the Lord as an expression of gratitude for all that God had done for him and his people. The credo which the offeror recites blends appreciation for personal benefits with those received by Israel as a whole. The identification of the individual with the larger community is central to covenant faith.
We go into the desert experience of Lent not just as individuals, but as part of a family, a community. How can I best live this experience of Lent in both dimensions: collective and individual?