In today’s Gospel (Mt 4:1-11)Jesus goes into the desert and there He is tempted by the devil. In our first reading from the book of Genesis, (Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7) Adam and Eve encountered the serpent in the Garden of Eden and there they too were tempted by the devil. We now enter into this forty-day period known as Lent and it is likely that we too will be tempted by the devil. The good news is that by God’s grace we do not have to succumb to the lies of the evil one as did our first parents, Adam and Eve; and not only that but as we recognize our sin, by God’s grace and boundless mercy, we can be forgiven.
At the Second Vatican Council they took up a phrase of Saint Irenaeus, who states that “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary.” Our first reading today, on this first Sunday of Lent illustrates the knot that was tied which the virgin Eve, bound tightly by her disobedience and unbelief; But, by saying yes to God when asked to be the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary loosened that knot by her faith and her trust in God.
Pope Francis in 2013 said, “…We know one thing: nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by his grace. And Mary, whose “yes” opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy. We all have some of these knots and we can ask in our heart of hearts: What are the knots in my life?
They are big and small, loose and tight. These knots are symbolic of the problems and struggles we face in life. They are knots of discord in our families, misunderstandings between parents and children, knots tied by disrespect, violence, or apathy; and the knots of deep hurts between a husband and wife. The knots of a son or daughter addicted to drugs, children who are sick or separated from home or separated from God, the knots of alcoholism, abortion, depression, illness, unemployment, fear, or loneliness. These knots can come from within us or outside of us; they can be physical, spiritual, mental or emotional.
These knots suffocate the soul, beat us down, and try to rob us of our joy. And the worst of these knots are those that do their best to separate us from God, and God’s love. Sometimes the knots and tangles in our lives seem so ensnarled that we begin to think it’s hopeless even to try undoing them. However, Pope Francis reminds us, “It is a mistake to say anything of the sort! All the knots of our heart, every knot of our conscience, can be undone. He invites us to go to the blessed Mother saying, “She, as a woman of faith, will surely tell you: “Get up, go to the Lord: he understands you”. And she leads us by the hand as a Mother, our Mother, to the embrace of our Father, the Father of mercies. Nothing is impossible for God’s mercy.
This Lenten season we are invited to uncover the knots in our lives, and seeking the intercession of Mary, the mother of God, to take those knots to the Lord who by his boundless mercy will help us loosen and untie those knots so that we can live as children of God.
To remind us of the task before us each time you come to church during this Lenten season as visual reminder you will see this knotted rope on the cross and we ask you today, if you did not do so on Ash Wednesday, to take a small one to keep in your purse or pocket during this Lenten season and to use it during your times of reflection and prayer.
Once we know the knots in our lives it is then time to take them to the “Undoer of knots,” asking the Blessed Mother to intercede for us…and she, no doubt, will lead us to her beloved Son, Jesus, to seek his forgiveness and be healed by his merciful love. It is only by God’s grace that these knots that we tie in our lives can be undone. So, during this Lenten season as we remember that we are the children of Adam and Eve. May we also remember that by Baptism we are the children of the Blessed Mother, and Jesus, who was not only victorious over the evil one in the dessert but also victorious over sin and death. May we allow him to untie the knots in our lives, because as Pope Francis reminds us, “nothing is impossible for God’s mercy!”NOTHING!!