Saturday, February 13, 2016

2-14-2016 -- 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C

February 14, 2016 - 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

We know that we are taunted by temptation. But could Jesus really be tempted by the Devil? Really? Jewish writings around the time of Jesus affirm the absolute sovereignty of God but place the Kingdoms of the World under the power and influence of the Devil.

Our world today doesn’t seem any different. Violence and evil and terror and sin are all around us. There is a constant struggle between good and evil, between right and wrong, between God and the Devil.

We give into the power of temptation when we say yes to bad choices that we think might make our lives seem easier or more fun or less lonely.

When we feel like we aren’t appreciated in the workplace, we are tempted to steal from our employer.

When we feel like we aren’t getting enough attention at home, we are tempted to cheat on our spouse.

When we feel like we just don’t fit in, we are tempted to give into peer pressure and do something we are uncomfortable with, or something we know is wrong.

When we are lonely or isolated or overwhelmed by sexual tension or puberty, we are tempted to look at internet pornography as a way of easing those tensions.

When we have physical problems or mental challenges or suffer from anxiety or depression, we are tempted to abuse alcohol or drugs to ease or even to erase the pain.

When we feel like our freedoms have been restricted or even taken away from us and exchanged with never ending responsibility, we are tempted to be very selfish and neglect those who depend on us.

All these temptations come from the Devil. And we might even be tempted to give into the Devil just to make him shut up for awhile. But that doesn’t work. Listen again to the last line of the gospel.
When the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Jesus for a time. Satan would return when Jesus, hanging upon the cross, was at his weakest.

It is there on the cross that the Devil again tempts Jesus three times with the wine forced to his lips, with the taunts to save himself and with the mocking sing that speaks the truth: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

Satan tempts Jesus when he is most vulnerable. We can be sure the same is true for us. The Devil tempts us when we are most vulnerable, when we are at our weakest, when it is the hardest for us to say, “Be gone, Satan.”

On our own, it is almost impossible to resist. And during this Year of Mercy we cry out to the Lord to show us mercy for the times when we have failed to resist temptation. The Lord God grants us forgiveness and shows us merciful love and calls us to look to Jesus for strength.

Seeing how Jesus resists the Devil gives us insight into how we can resist when we are taunted by temptation.

Jesus uses the Word of God to help him resist the devil. We certainly hear the Words of Satan tempting and taunting us. We must also listen for the Word of God which is spoken as a remedy, spoken to help us resist.

So on this first Sunday of Lent we are reminded just how important our Sacred Scriptures are for us. We read and reflect upon the Word of God here in Church. It is here that we find the strength to resist temptation.

It would also be helpful for us to read and reflect upon the Word of God in our homes as well. The more the Word of God dwells within us, the more effective it is in help us draw closer to Jesus.

Too often we allow Satan to speak to us and take possession of our lives. Today we are called to listen to and reflect on God’s Word so that it can have an impact in our lives giving us the strength to resist the Devil.

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