HNN – Heavenly Network News

First Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7 - Ps 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17 - Rom 5:12-19 - Mt 4:1-11

HNN – Real Reality Television

God likes to watch TV. In fact, He is up in heaven right now, sitting in his recliner, sipping on a nice cool beverage, with his feet propped up in his favorite Lazy-Boy watching HNN – Heavenly Network News. But God’s Television is not like our TV. He doesn’t just watch some Virtual Reality world, but rather He participates in Real Reality Television – Interactive and in Truth!

The beauty of HNN is that God (Because he exists outside of time) and sees all of the Superbowl Games all at once. And although he knows the outcome of every game played throughout all of time He still gets a kick out of watching all of them.

Hearing the Word at Mass is like Watching HNN with God

Hearing the Scriptures in Mass is like watching HNN with God, In the First Reading we learn that there is such a thing as Good and Evil. It is partly a consequence of our Human Freedom. The right use of freedom is to choose the good over the evil – because choosing the good leads us into happiness, while choosing evil leads us into a life of death.

Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden

On HNN today we watched Eve be confronted with temptation and fall into sin. This is our struggle with sin. With Adam and Eve we too chose to listen to Satan, and fall into sin. When we sin we use our freedom to reject God.

Scorn or Cry

When we glance over at God the Father, to see how he is taking this terrible turn in events – We see tears pouring down His cheeks. God is greatly saddened to see his creation fall victim to Sin and the Devil.

St. Michael – The Angelic Analyst

Now the Angelic Analyst comes onto the screen to give his Analysis – Look it is Saint Michael the Archangel, Captain of the Heavenly Host.

“Notice how the enemy engages us. He never uses a frontal assault, because he knows that the Heavenly Host will go through him like snow through a snow blower! See how slippery he is, he asked Eve a question – diversion, deception and trickery are the hallmarks of our enemy. Let’s analyze his attack strategy...”

“Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”

An innocent Question – or is it. First of all, the first mistake of Eve was to listen to the suggestions of the Devil to begin with. He always starts with a question to get us thinking, and then he tries to twist our thinking with rationalization so that we are unable to resist his attack.

What underlies this question is the suggestion that God is not to be trusted.

  • Did God really tell you that lusting after pornography is adultery?
  • Did God really tell you that Gluttony is sinful, destructive to your body and your soul?
  • Did God really tell you that violence is evil and begets more violence?
  • How much violence, flesh, greed, anger, lying, lust, laziness, disobedience, pride is evil. Is it all evil, or just some of it evil?
This is where we fall into the grip of Sin, we follow the pattern of Adam and Eve.

“Notice that now that the Devil has her attention, he slips in the deception, the lie – she has been duped and doesn’t even know it!”

“You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.”

“See how skillful Satan is, he packs lies into simple statements.”

  • God is a liar (You certainly will not die!) – But really Satan is the liar (The wages of sin is death)
  • God is not looking out for you – you can’t trust him!
  • God does not want you to be a God like him (why else would he forbid the fruit?)
Sitting next to God as He weeps
God is crying because he sees the destruction wrought by Original Sin. Not only does he see the personal sin of Adam and Eve, but remember HNN’s slogan is “All the News from All of Time All at Once”. God is filled with sadness to see that what He created out of beauty and love for goodness, happiness and fulfillment is used to hurt His creation. What do I mean?

Adam and Eve only realized that they were naked after they ate the forbidden fruit because they no longer saw one another through the eyes of love, but rather through the eyes of selfish Lust!

The Jesus Channel (Channel 2)

Providentially, at the same time, God is watching Jesus on Channel 2 (He is the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity) in His battle with Satan in the Desert. Here, Jesus is winning back all of the ground lost by Eve and more in his contest with the Devil. It’s like watching “Let’s make a deal”, where the Devil is playing the part of Monty Hall, and Jesus is a contestant on the show. But this version is different. The Devil shows up with Door Number One (You can Turn Stones into Bread), Door Number Two (Go ahead and throw yourself off the Temple, you’ll be alright), and Door Number Three (Worship Satan and you can get everything in the World). The funny thing about this show is that Jesus sees through the temptation of Satan. He does this with Prayer, Fasting and a thorough understanding of Scriptures (He is after all, the Word made Flesh) and the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus plays the game by God’s rules – He chooses the greater good over all of the temptations that Satan offers Him. He chooses fasting over gluttony. He trusts in God Word rather than the twisted reading of the Scriptures. He chooses to serve the God of Selfless love rather than serve the selfish devil.

King David and Temptation Palace!

On the “How to Fix It Channel” we see King David confessing his sins. This is what today’s psalm speaks to us about.

David’s Sin

Tradition has it that King David wrote this psalm after Nathan confronted him about sleeping with Bathsheeba (Adultery). After David got her pregnant he tried to get her husband Uriah to lie with her so he wouldn’t get caught (David Lied). When that failed, King David sent Uriah up to the front to die (Murder).


After this happened to him, the prophet Nathan came to King David and told him of his Sin. Nathan told David that he was DEAD in God’s eyes. Nathan was filling the role of our conscience in David’s life.

David responded to Nathan’s witness by writing Psalm 51. In Psalm 51, we learn how to fix our broken souls. What we need to do to recognize our sinfulness and to find healing in God.

Recognize the Wrong by Guilt.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
And cleanse me from my sin.
The Battle with Satan, the struggle with Sin, with selfishness versus selflessness begins with…
  • An understanding of God’s Goodness.
  • Knowing that God has the ability to cleanse us, and to wash away our sin.
  • Knowing that God can save us (To Wash away our Guilt means allowing God to heal our sinfulness).
The Gift of Guilt – It leads to honesty – which leads to dealing in the Truth.

Guilt is a good thing – it leads us to conversion – to repentance – and healing. Guilt is like pain for the soul – it is a gift from God that keeps us safe.

We need to “own” our actions – because our conscience will remember them anyway. We can choose to tune out our Guilt, like David did for a while, but eventually the truth of our actions will come home to roost.

My offenses truly I know them;
My sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
What is evil in your sight I have done.

This verse of the psalm speaks about the role of the Conscience in keeping us honest – it remembers. Repentance is about taking ownership of what you have done, and recognizing the evil that it is.

Why do we rationalize our Sin?

One of the reasons why we struggle with Repentance is that we fail to acknowledge the sinfulness of our actions. We fail to see how sin kills us – Why? Because often it is a slow death.

But our conscience always reminds us of the truth of our deeds – whether they are good or evil.

During Lent the Church invites us to meditate on our lives. When we are honest, we confront our Sin and we see why our behavior is sinful – how does it damage our relationship with God.

The Prayer of a Soul seeking healing!

(Confession is Disinfectant for the Soul)

A pure heart create for me, O God,
Put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
Nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

The psalm reminds us of the cleansing and healing action of God’s love – When you cut yourself, you clean out the wound with disinfectant to kill the germs. Sin is the same way, when you wound yourself with Sin, you wash it out with the cleansing presence of the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confession!

Todah – Thanksgiving

O rescue me, God, my helper
And my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips
And my mouth shall declare your praise.

(Remember A Kid's First Confession)

The Joy of Confession – of healing is that we experience the true Joy of God – Our life, gives praise to God for the great things he has done for us.


Now God is tuned into Channel 23 – Where he witnesses the events of your lives. Don’t let time or sin keep you from taking advantage of the great grace of this sacrament.

Lent is the time for us to take up the heroic path!
Lent is the time for us to deal with Temptation and Sin!
This Lent will you follow the path of King David, and come to healing in your Soul?
At the end of this Lent will we see that the Fathers Eyes are filled with Sorrow at what we have done channel,

or with Joy?


More than a black cross on your forhead

Ash Wednesday

Jl 2:12-18 – Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17 - 2 Cor 5:20—6:2 - Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Peace Huts Retreat

Before I became a Deacon I helped out at a retreat center on the Colorado Prairie that was called the Peace Huts. The Peace Huts was really a “back-to-basics” kind of place. When I went on retreat we had to use an outhouse, cook on a wood-fired stove and walk a mile one way to fetch water.

Retreating is about getting into the basics of your faith

The beauty of taking a retreat is that they help us to focus on the basics of our faith; our relationship with God, our family and our friends. Taking a spiritual retreat enables us to leave the distractions behind, and to spend time focusing on our relationship with God. We do this with prayer, with listening, with serving one another and with fasting. The fruit of a good spiritual retreat is that it leads us closer to the heart of God.

Lent – The Church on Retreat

Lent is the time when all of us go on retreat. We stop our lives for a moment, so that we can take some time to grow in our relationship with Christ. Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular days of the Church year, because on Ash Wednesday the Church all over the world begins her retreat. Lent is the time when we work at our relationship with God.

Begin with Simplicity – Simplifying your life

When we go on retreat we need to begin in simplicity. Being on retreat means going to a quiet, out of the way place so that we can hear God. For us, for this Lent, it means that we need to take a mental inventory of the busyness in our life so that we can pare it down to what is essential. To help us to do this we begin Lent with fasting, abstaining from meat. Fasting helps us to focus on our prayer life, so that we can listen to Jesus with our heart.

Repent – Change your heart!

During Lent we are called to repent – which means to change your life so that you can fall more deeply in love with God.

Fasting and Abstinence

During Lent the Church calls us to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. (This means that we can only eat vegetables and fish – no chicken, no pork, no steak because eating simple food reminds us to change our lives.

Fasting is a way of quieting our stomach, of reminding our body that the needs of the soul (which will live forever) are more important than the needs of the body. Fasting allows us to listen to God. The first step to listening is ridding yourself of these things that distract you from Him. What is distracting you from God? Television? Video Games? Gambling? Alcohol? Lying? Pornography? Now is the time to change, repent, and make more room for God by trimming away one of the excesses in your life!

Pray All Ways

When we go on retreat we make an effort to spend time praying with God because prayer is an essential element of our relationship with God. We can pray the Rosary, the Psalms, the Scriptures, the Mass, spend time listening, or praising God in song.

Lent too is a time to increase our prayer life – to increase the time we spend with God. During Lent we are encouraged to take time to speak and listen to God. If you don’t know how to do this then come to the Church this Friday night at 6:00 PM for Soup Supper and the Stations of the Cross. We will share a simple meal and then spend time meditating on the Passion of Our Lord. Think of it as watching the Passion of the Christ from within your heart.


During Lent it is important to receive the sacrament of penance. There will be time for confession every Wednesday and Thursday night. Many of us have not been to confession for a long time – do not worry – the Father’s here will help you to make a good confession, so that you can be freed from sin. In today’s reading God begs us to return to him with our whole heart – so that we are able to receive His blessing of love and healing.

God will heal your heart

Whenever we take time for a retreat God will heal us – sometimes in a small way, sometimes in a big way. He changes our hearts by stretching them a little. God stretches our hearts by filling with His love, and as a result we end up making more and more room for Him in our lives because we become more and more hungry for His love. The more our heart is filled with God’s love, the easier it is for us to avoid the sin’s that are killing us.

Peace Huts is more than a Burlap Sack – Ash Wednesday is more than a black cross on your forehead!

The retreats that I used to attend at the Peace Huts began with an exercise of simplicity – We would have to empty out the bag that we brought our stuff in and then pack what we NEEDED into a burlap sack. Over the years I learned that going on a retreat is not about packing all of my stuff into a burlap bag and walking out into the middle of the prairie, but rather it is about opening myself up to the possibility of God’s love. Going on a retreat is about setting aside our busy lives for a little while so that we can learn to listen to God. Going on a retreat is about getting rid of those habits that I have that are killing my relationship my creator.

In the same way Ash Wednesday is more than receiving a small black cross on our foreheads – it is about setting aside what we think we need for fasting, acts of charity and penance. Ash Wednesday is about allowing ourselves the opportunity to listen to God. Ash Wednesday is about making a little more room in our hearts with our prayers, our charity and our actions so that we can be filled with the love of God.