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First Sunday of Lent 2024

What Is in the Treasure Box for You?: Find Out When You Meet the Father

At the bottom of the Cape Cod Canal, there is a hole, a crater. Fish love to gather in this hole to get out of the fast current. It also allows them to reach out and grab some food when bait fish swim by. It is sort of like sitting on your lazy boy and having your favorite snack food pass by you on a conveyor belt. Just reach out and grab it. My father found this hole. He brought his friend there, saying, “Stand on this rock and cast out straight.” The friend did what he was instructed and caught a fish. Needless to say, he was impressed. “Now, don’t tell anyone about this place,” my father warned him. So what is the first thing the friend did? He went there the next Saturday morning, and a stranger was out walking his dog and asked my father’s friend, “How’s the fishing?” So the friend replied, “Blab, Blab rock, and Blab, Blab cast out straight, blab la lots of fish.” Now, every time we go to the canal to fish, there is a guy standing on that rock with a fishing pole. So whenever my father finds a really nice place, he tells only one person: me. Why? Because I am the son

Let me ask you this: why did Jesus go into the desert for forty days? To lose weight? I don’t think so. Is it because he wants to have a theological discussion with the devil and maybe exchange scripture quotes?  Hardly. He went there to spend time with his father in secret.

Let me ask you this. How did Jesus know to travel one hundred miles north to Tyre and Sidon because a woman had a daughter possessed by a demon? How did Jesus know that to walk by a village called Nain at the exact moment when a widow was leaving the city to bury her only son? How did Jesus know to enter one particular synagogue during a Sabbath to find a woman who was hunched over for eighteen years? How did Jesus know to go to Jerusalem, not the easy direct way, but to go out of his way through the Jordan Rift Valley so he could run into a blind man who needed him? How did he know all these things? Jesus tells us. “I do the work of the Father.”

There is a time in a dad’s life when he reaches out to the son or daughter and says, “Just in case something happens, here is the combination to the safe.” That is, for me, the purpose of the forty days.

I used to play the viola in high school. I took lessons at the Boston Conservatory of Music. After my lesson, I would always walk across the street and make a visit to St. Clement. On one of these visits, God opened up his treasure box and said, “I know you like to play in the orchestra. But I have something better for you, a better fit for you. Something that will fulfill your life.”

That is what happens. That is why Jesus went into the desert for forty days. 

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