First Sunday of Lent, Year A: 5th March 2017.
At that time: Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory in them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and only him shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and ministered to him.
Today Our Lord Jesus Christ shows us the way as he goes into the wilderness to pray and fast for 40 days; this which the Holy Church commemorates with the 40 days of Lent. Hear Jesus’ response from the gospel:
Man shall not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4). This points to the basic fact that we ought to lay much emphasis on the well-being of our spirit than on our bodily nourishment. We do this when we read spiritual books, get more acquainted with the Holy Bible and grow in the Cathecism the Church teaches.
Do not tempt the Lord your God (Matthew 4:7). Yes our God is merciful, loving and full of compassion. Yes, He is ever willing to blot out our transgressions and wash out inquity and thus cleanse us from our sins. But then again, Jesus warns us about presumption. We shouldn’t take God’s mercy for granted just because of the presumption since we fully know our Lord would save us even after we do wrong. We should also remember that there’s a temporal punishment for the sin we do commit.
Worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve (Matthew 4:10). A lot of things tend to take God’s place in our lives in this present age; Money, power, pleasure: these and the likes we see people serving, forgetting He who breathed life into our bodies made of dust (Genesis 2:7). Temptations are definitely going to try to turn away from gaze on Life Eternal but God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us all through life’s journey thus giving us the grace to overcome. Christ also reminds us of the need of solace as we go on our 40 days journey; the need to pull away from the world which tries to draw us with its many distractions.
Today Jesus sets before us an example worth emulating: that though the devil may tempt us, we can overcome through the Holy Spirit who empowers us. May we always say yes to God and no to Satan and his evil whims as we journey with Jesus this Lenten season.