During Lent the JPII school community gathers for prayer each Wednesday afternoon.
The prayer services are crafted by and featuring the thoughtful reflections of students.
Below is a sample:
The devil believed that he could tempt Jesus because of his hunger. “If you are the son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread,” the devil said. He wanted to prove that Jesus would give into this physical desire. But Jesus countered with words of wisdom, saying that what one should truly value from God is his teachings and his love. He said, “One does not live by bread alone.” While the bread and other food is very important in our lives, it is not the most important thing we should seek from God.
I was fortunate enough to be able to go on the school’s mission trip to Ecuador this year. On the trip, we met many very faithful men and women who shared their stories with us. One woman’s words especially stuck with me, and I thought of her when reflecting on this passage. Her name is Juana. Jauna is a mother of five. Her husband works full time, so she takes care of her children. In what little free time she has, she volunteers at a local after school program. While it would be much more convenient for her to stay at home, she believes that education is the key to getting out of poverty, and dedicates herself to making sure that her children and others are educated.
She has not had an easy life. The government recently kicked her out of her house and tore it down. She was forced to move from the house that she loved to a more impoverish part of town. While Juana is physically poor, she is spiritually rich. When we entered her house, she thanked God for allowing us to visit her. Despite not having very much herself, she insisted on sharing sweets and snacks with us. She is grateful for whatever God provides her with, and wants to share what she has with us.
Juana understands Jesus’s message. While she was not born into an affluent life, she has realized that God’s grace and love is more important in her life than material things. We asked her what she wanted us to take away from meeting with her. She wants us to never forget what we learned in Ecuador and share what we saw with others. And so I am sharing her story with all of you. It is often true that those who have so little have so much to teach us. “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” There is something to work on this Lent.