The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are. Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks. --St. Francis De Sale
Gospel Text: (MT 4:1-11)
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
In today’s Gospel, we read how Satan tried to get Jesus to question his identity. He prefaced his temptations by saying, “If you are the Son of God …” He knew that if Jesus became unsure of his Father’s love and wisdom, it was much more likely that he would walk away from the plan God had laid out for him. But Satan’s plan didn’t work. Jesus knew who he was, and he clung to the word of God so that he could stay focused on his Father.
How often do we try to save ourselves, put ourselves in the situation of control or be uncomfortable when we aren’t in control? But often, control is sort of like telling Jesus in a roundabout way we don’t need His guidance, direction, or grace. That isn’t what is best in our lives, or what Jesus desires.
There is nothing in life more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ, and the salvation that comes through Him. Nothing!!! Jesus ultimately wants what is best for our lives, and sometimes that takes a sacrifice like taking up a cross daily to follow to find out what that exactly is. No matter what we do in life, it won’t matter if we lose our soul in the process. If we try to control our destiny by ourselves, putting our life in the direction we think it should go and neglect God’s direction, we probably won’t be happy with the results.
God doesn’t give rules and regulations to stifle us and make life a list of do’s and don’ts, but in order to give us prosperity in the sense of the ultimate joy and happiness. A lifestyle dedicated to Jesus Christ should be noticeably different, and in order to do this it is necessary to make sacrifices daily, to not conform to the pattern of the world but to ultimately seek joy and salvation by losing control of our lives and putting it directly into the hands of Jesus. Even though this process isn’t easy, it is the only one that will end in satisfaction.