A reflection for the first Sunday of Lent

Sister Maria Ukamaka Okeke, I.H.M. reflects on the readings for February 18, 2023.

Readings (Year B):

Genesis 9:8 – 15
Psalms 25:4 – 5, 6 – 7, 8 – 9 
1 Peter 3:18 – 22
Mark 1:12 – 15

Reflection: Are we letting sin into our lives?

The liturgy of the first Sunday of Lent reminds us that temptations make free calls to everyone, and they don’t respect the peace and privacy of any person on earth. In the creation story in Genesis, Adam and Eve were tempted. Even Jesus, the son of God, was tempted, according to today’s gospel. We are tempted by many things and in many ways; no one is exempt, and no one is immune. It’s important to put in place spiritual controls ad protocols for dealing with potential temptations, so we don’t end up being caged by them.

A story is told of a merchant in ancient Arabia. It was a very hot day. The merchant, exhausted after traveling, pitched a tent to get some rest. He tied his camel to a post outside the tent and gave it food and water. Then he lay down in the tent and went to sleep. As soon as he began to doze off, the camel started to groan because of the hot weather. The animal humbly asked the merchant, “Master, it is hot outside. May I put my head inside the tent?” The merchant thought about it and figured it would not cost him anything, so he agreed, “Yes, you may.” The camel put its head inside through the flaps of the tent.

No sooner had the merchant started to sleep than the camel asked again, “Master, I cannot bear the scorching heat outside. May I keep my front legs also inside the tent? The merchant thought that the camel must be tired from having walked such a long distance. He knew that if the camel did not properly rest, it could not carry the next day’s load. “Yes, you can put your front legs in also,” said his master, “but do not disturb my sleep anymore!” Once again, the merchant started to fall asleep. This time, however, the camel suddenly spread out its legs (maybe unintentionally) and kicked his half-asleep master out of the tent. The struggle to occupy the shade of the tent continued between the merchant and his camel till dawn.


Lent is a time to examine whether we are allowing temptation to make its way into our lives, bit by bit, until sin kicks us out of the holy path on which we are meant to be. When temptations to envy, pride, or greed enter our lives, sometimes we decide to entertain or accommodate them for a bit. Just a bit begets another bit. Before long, we become trapped in the web of sins. Eventually, sin may alter our entire lives. The real challenge for us this Lent is to re-examine ourselves and identify the areas, situations, or things that make us vulnerable, weak, exposed, and susceptible to falling away from God’s love and grace.

About the author

Sister Maria Ukamaka Okeke, I.H.M.

Maria Ukamaka Okeke, I.H.M. is a member of the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Catholic Educational Leadership at DePaul University. Sister Maria is committed to holistic education, inspiring policymakers, educators, and learners to create a harmonious world through transformative education.

Add comment