The First Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:4-10, Psalm 91:102, 10-15, Romans 10:8-13, & Luke 4:1-13
“You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.“
In today’s Gospel narrative, Jesus talks about our In today’s Gospel, Saint Luke writes, “Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.“ During His encounter with the devil, our Lord was tempted ‘three’ times. With each seduction, Jesus had no response to the devil. He had the inner strength and wisdom to refuse the earthly temptation placed before Him. Jesus was neither interested in power nor wealth, and He refused to prove who He was to anyone, even to Satan himself. Finally, Jesus bluntly told the devil, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.“ Then, the devil departed.
Friends, we also encounter these same earthly temptations: influence, power, and wealth. Do we, like our Lord, have the inner strength to refuse these temptations? The world, unfortunately, applauds those individuals who have authority, prosperity, or extraordinary abilities. Are we content to be satisfied with our everyday lives? The Lord Jesus wants us to be holy, wise, and discerning individuals. He knows that the world’s temptations are potent influences in our lives. Sometimes, we have the inner strength to resist them, and sometimes we weaken and fall prey to the enticements set before us.
Jesus also realizes that those same temptations do not necessarily bring us lives of happiness and peace. The English Catholic historian John Dalberg-Acton said that power is seductive and ultimately that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.“ If we are not discerning, power may tempt us to take a road that might lead to our destruction. Today, be mindful of the concept of power and its ability to seduce you. Ask Jesus to help you stay alert to these lures. These temptations may seem insignificant; however, if we give in to small temptations, we are more likely to give in to more dangerous temptations.
Question of the Day: How will you recognize the dangerous temptations placed before you and have the strength to avoid them?