The Temptation of Christ: 1st Sunday of Lent

12th century mosaic, St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice

In the Gospel of Matthew we read where Jesus enters the desert to be tempted by the devil after 40 days and nights of fasting. Jesus’s first temptation is to turn the stones into loaves of bread. Jesus rebukes Satan by saying, “one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Mt. 4:4).

It is easy for us to give in to our earthly desires. Man is not perfect. We are reminded of another instance in scripture where Jesus’s disciples could not keep watch when they were in the garden at Gethsemane. After Jesus returned from prayer he says to Peter, “you could not keep watch with me for one hour?…the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:40-41). We too have those moments where we give in to our earthly desires. Jesus gives us the roadmap to be courageous against such adversity by turning to God’s word in holy scripture to nourish another facet of our being, that of our soul.

While food and drink may temporarily relieve our bodily desire of hunger & thirst, our souls are constantly hungering for truth. Even Jesus’s closest disciples that were in his presence fell short and let their earthly flesh take hold when falling asleep. It is the divinity of Jesus, however, that has enabled us to do something greater in conquering the temptations of this world to be fed by His eternal word that nourishes our souls and of that moment in which we receive Him in holy Eucharist. Jesus reminds us that “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (Jn. 6:35). We must always strive for that spiritual food that will truly satisfy us.

In the second temptation of Jesus , the devil tempts our Lord by asking that he throw himself down from the parapet of the temple and asking angels to save him. Jesus boldly reminds the devil that you shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Mt. 4:7). How often do we approach God in our own life only to treat God as if He were some genie from a lamp granting us wishes? We are reminded of the storm on the Sea of Galilee in which Jesus allowed Peter to walk on water only to have him sink due to his fear of the wind. Jesus tells Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:31). Oftentimes we are like Peter in which we let our fears blind us from the signs that are already there if only we have the eyes of faith as promised to us by the resurrection.

The last temptation of Jesus is one of pride and power. The devil promises Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if only he kneel before him and do him homage. Jesus boldly proclaims “Get away Satan! The Lord your God shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” (Mt. 4:10). We all have that temptation to seek those earthly possessions and riches that grant us a temporary happiness. Even Jesus’s disciples had this temptation when they asked Jesus “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Mt. 18:1). Jesus tells his disciples that “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:4). We too must have the innocence and humility of a child for God’s endless love which is the most prized possession we could ever have.

Together, let us ask for God’s divine intervention in battling those temptations that separate us from God’s love. Let us boldly proclaim this day, be gone Satan!

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to life everlasting. Amen.

Published by StreetEvangelist

A Roman Catholic Christian living in the TX, USA area seeking to make the world a better place. Our call to mission as being made in the image and likeness of God is two-fold: to have authentic relationships with our fellow man, and to have an authentic personal encounter with our living God through His Son Jesus Christ who is, who was and who will always be. Let us not bicker, spew hate, or worry about trivial matters when we can become better images of our self to walk humbly with our loving God.

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