Expect your own temptations
- 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.
He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”
Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”
Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.(Lk4:1-13).
- Today’s first reading reminds Israelites that every good choice has a good consequence and vice versa. Prosperity has its temptations just as poverty has its. It is a call for vigilance and steadfastness. This is the goal of Lent. The Word of God throughout this period aims at encouraging us to be strong against temptations in our daily life. The temptations of Christ in the gospel are meant to assure us that we can stand firm against the devil and his temptations. An analysis of the gospel shows that the devil can tempt people based on their needs, vanities and religious convictions.
In the first temptation Jesus just finished his forty days fasting and was very hungry. The devil knew that he needed food and tempted him with his need. He asked him to turn stone into bread as a sign of his being the son of God. The devil knew that Jesus is the son of God. He knew that one in need may be less reasonable and he catches in on that. Jesus turned down his request telling him that God can give life to those who trust in him even without food. In this way teaches that one should not sin because he/she is in need.
In the second temptation the Devil tempted his vanity, his desire for power and influence. He claimed that all the riches and powers of the world belong to him. He requested Jesus to worship him in exchange for wealth and power. Jesus knew that the devil always promises more than he can give. He always seems to demand a simple thing when he is actually aiming at destroying man’s relationship with God. He did exactly the same thing with Adam and Eve. He repeated it with Esau. He is still doing the same with the world today. But Jesus made it clear that only God deserves worship from man. No other being should be worshipped by humans for any reason whatsoever.
In the last temptation he tempted Jesus with his religion convictions. He took him to the holy city and then to the pinnacle of the temple pretending to love and respect God and in this way induce Jesus to believe that he speaks for God. He even began the discussion by quoting the Word of God to back up his deceptive speech. He asked Jesus to put God to the test. Jesus undid him again and in this way teaches that it is wrong for anyone to allow oneselves to be deceived into sin in the name of God or the Church by those who pretend to be speaking for God when they, like the devil, are actually speaking for their interest.
The Devil is not afraid of tempting anyone even Jesus. You should not be afraid of confronting him. The Lenten period is a time to meet him face to face. His styles have not changed. He will still tempt you with your true needs. He will tempt you with your empty desires especially with the desire for riches, power and pleasure. He will tempt you with your religious convictions. Be courageous enough to reject sin all it’s veiled manifestations. Don’t give up. You are called to be a winner like your master Jesus. Use this lent to increase your virtues and strengthen your resistance. © Vita 06/03/22