I went to the 10 a.m. Mass at the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle on Manhattan's West Side and, after brunch, walked with the parish's RCIA group over to Fifth Avenue for this year's "Rite of Election" at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It's the program through which adults become Catholic.
During the "Rite of Election" at the cathedral, the catechumens were recognized and welcomed by New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan (who gave a superb homily using aspects of the cathedral to explain the Faith).
This is my third year as a "welcomer" and sponsor for St. Paul's RCIA group. The experience has been a real blessing for me, one through which my own spirituality has been nourished.
It's a good day to think about nourishment (spiritual and physical). Today's Gospel was the passage from Luke Chapter 4 in which Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the devil.
I'm drawn to this line in the passage: "He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry."
He was hungry. When God became man in the form of Jesus, there were times when he had an empty stomach -- and knew it. Later, on the cross, Jesus said, "I thirst."
God understands our need for nourishment. He understands our wants. He gets us.
In his excellent homily for this Sunday, Deacon Greg explores the idea of Jesus as the ultimate "undercover boss" who wants to know his people:
... as his earthly ministry unfolds, he will share our hardships and frustrations, our temptations and trials. He will feel what it is like to be denied, and betrayed. He will know every kind of person. He'll know Judas - and St. John, the beloved disciple. He'll meet the woman at the well, and Mary and Martha. He will know our dreams, and the things that sustain us. He will see all that we are - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Flashbacks: First Sundays of Lent 2009, 2008 and 2007.
The painting above, "Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness" or "Jésus tenté dans le désert" is by James Tissot. It is owned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art.