Lenten reflection: Growing in confidence in the Word of God to guide us


(Editor’s note: Welcome to our Lenten Reflection series! As Catholics, we are rooted in the Scriptures. We proclaim the word at Mass, and many of the prayers we use in the liturgy are based on texts from the Bible. What we hear in the Liturgy of the Word is made present in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We are encouraged to study the Scriptures, to come to a deeper understanding of their meanings and nuances. We are encouraged to pray with them, in the silence of our own hearts as well as with others — especially using the ancient approach known as lectio divina. In this first reflection, Mitchell Narvasa shares his personal experiences of how he has encountered and been enriched by the Scriptures in his prayer life. )

By Mitchell Narvasa
For The Catholic Messenger

If we’ve been going to Mass most of our lives, then the story of Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights shouldn’t be anything new to us, except that our God is “ever ancient and ever new.” There are so many things to ponder and to be nourished by in the readings on this first Sunday of Lent. But one thing stood out the most for me: the power of the Word of God in Scripture.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Satan tempts Jesus three times. What does Jesus do? He doesn’t have a conversation with Satan, he doesn’t make a pros and cons list, nor does he compromise and say, “Maybe just a little bit of bread crumbs out of sand?” Instead, he sends the tempter away by proclaiming Scripture.


Jesus knows exactly who this enemy is, the one who comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). In contrast, Jesus comes to give us life “to the full.” How? By striking down Satan and his smooth words with the truth from Scripture “for the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12).


Do we believe that the Word of God is alive and active in our own lives? Maybe we struggle with lust. Then, reflect on the Scripture that references lust, “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28) and on the sixth beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
Do we tend to hold anger and grudges? Then reflect on another beatitude, “Blessed are those who are merciful for they shall be shown mercy” (Matt. 5:7). Don’t converse with temptation, don’t weigh the costs, and don’t compromise. Turn away, repent and resist it with God’s word.

In the last year, I have been diving into the Scriptures every morning and my life has changed. God has challenged me through his word and has shone a light on the spaces of my heart that I wanted to stay hidden in the dark. Those moments were scary, but I also knew that we have a God whose “yoke is easy and burden light” and who waits eagerly for me to turn back to him so that he can throw a feast on my return.

In all my wounds, my shame, my weaknesses and, yes, even in my sins, I let the words of Scripture shine a light on it all. What I found was the same Jesus in the wilderness, except after he speaks words to send the enemy away he speaks words directly to me of healing, blessing, strength and forgiveness to fill me with new life.

Now, when I feel like my pride starts puffing up, which it always is, I read this verse written on my wall: “… do not become proud, but stand in awe!” (Romans 11:20.) I am in awe of God’s power in my life, won by the precious blood of Christ crucified on the cross. I have nothing to boast about but the God who sets me free and gives me “the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

This Lent, I encourage us all to grow in confidence in the Word of God to guide us, to guard and strengthen us when temptation comes, and to fill us with new and everlasting life.

(Mitchell Narvasa is pastoral associate of discipleship and evangelization for St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.)

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