Sunday, February 17, 2013

"In times of desolation, God conceals Himself from us so that we can discover for ourselves what we are without Him."

When tempted, invoke your Angel. he is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.--St. John Bosco

(Gospel text: LK 4:1-13)
Jesus was now full of Holy Spirit. As He returned from the Jordan, the Spirit led him into the desert where He was tempted by the devil for forty days. He did not eat anything during that time, and in the end He was hungry. The devil then said to him, «If you are son of God, tell this stone to turn into bread». But Jesus answered, «Scripture says: ‘People cannot live on bread alone’». 

Then the devil took him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the nations of the world. And he said to Jesus, «I can give you power over all the nations and their wealth will be yours, for power and wealth have been delivered to me and I give them to whom I wish. All this will be yours provided you worship me». But Jesus replied, «Scripture says: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him alone’».

Then the devil took him up to Jerusalem and set him on the highest wall of the Temple; and he said, «If you are son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘God will order his angels to take care of you’ and again: ‘They will hold you in their hands, lest you hurt your foot on the stones’». But Jesus replied, «It is written: ‘You shall not challenge the Lord your God’». When the devil had exhausted every way of tempting Jesus he left him, to return another time.

On the first Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading each year is about Jesus' temptation in the desert.

In the first temptation, Satan commands Jesus to turn a stone into bread. Upon first looking at this, it appears to be a temptation for earthly desires. Although that is true, I also saw it as a temptation to stop our spiritual journey. When I have a meal with family or friends, I feel very comfortable and I do not want the meal to end because it is so enjoyable. I think Satan is asking Jesus to stop his mission and rest so that he may become stagnant in his spiritual life. As we begin this Lenten season, we can fear trying new things that will help us grow closer to Christ since we do not feel confident or comfortable in the changes. However, let us remember how Jesus was able to pass up that desire in order to follow his Father’s will.

The second temptation Jesus experiences is one for the power of all the nations if he but only worships Satan. By remembering the first commandant of not worshiping any gods but the Lord, Jesus is able to resist the temptation. This temptation asks me - do I truly love God above all else, or do I have something in the way of my love for God?

The last temptation told in Luke’s gospel is proving to the people that Jesus is the Son of God by throwing himself down from the Temple. Jesus’ response to this is saying that one should not test God. By saying this, Jesus relies on people to believe in him not because of what he can do, but because of their love for him. Sure, if God could prove in a scientific way that he exists, it would probably be a great help to each of us, but it would be superficial since our love for him would be based on what powerful deeds he can perform.

In the final analysis, temptation will always be a part of our lives.  No matter our age or the circumstances of our lives, temptation will be something that we have to deal with until the end of our journey here on earth. At the same time, it is essential that we avoid the occasions of sin that put us in the danger of not only being tempted, but also may cause us to sin. 

Prayer, daily Mass, filial devotion to our Lady, the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adoration and the frequent reception of Confession are the proven remedies for temptation.

The triple concupiscence of the world, the flesh and the devil are just as real today as they have been over the entire history of humanity. Lent provides us with a special time of grace to examine our conscience and remove those things that are holding us back from a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or may in fact be an obstacle to our eternal salvation.

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