First Sunday of Lent – C February 21st, 2010

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Dear Friends,

We have started the Holy season of Lent, a very important period in the year of worship. It is the time to make God the centre of our life once again, a time to abandon our sin and go back to Him.

Today’s gospel tells us the three temptations of Jesus after he had fasted forty days in the desert. The devil said to him:

  1. “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
  2.  “If you, then, will worship me, it (the entire world) will all be yours.”
  3. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here.”

Here we can notice the devil’s cleverness. He quotes the scripture lavishly at every temptation, he poses as a sincere friend of Jesus, interested in his welfare. The devil promises Jesus power and glory which according to him are in his hands to distribute to whomsoever he pleases. But it is not true. Jesus called the devil a “liar and the father of lies”. (Jn.8.44)

The only thing the devil distributes in abundance is misery, suffering and death. We have been foolish enough to believe him when he promised us happiness.

We will also notice that Jesus too quoted the scripture in his reply to each temptation but in their true meaning. Jesus answered the devil:

  1.  “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone.’”
  2.  ”It is written, ’worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
  3.  “It is said,’ Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

By these Jesus defeated the devil in the desert .

The devil tempts us to exactly the same way he tempted Jesus.

  1. He tempts us to procure the needs of life against God’s plans and will: to accumulate the goods of this world so as to come to the conclusion that we do not need God any longer.
  2. He tempts us to human power and glory, to be above others, to be served by them rather than to be at the service of our brothers and sisters.
  3. He tempts us to worship him: this is the summary of all temptations. To do what the devil wants rather than God’s will, in order to secure what men prize most: money, power and pleasure.

Jesus used the scriptures to defeat the devil. Jesus gives us this weapon in our hands. A prayerful daily reading of the scriptures will give us the light and strength we need to resist temptation.

Fr. Chris