First Sunday of Lent
Also Read: Mass Readings for 26 February 2023 Mass Reading Reflection for 26 February 2023
Gospel: Matthew 4: 1-11
With ash on our forehead, we have entered the season of Lent. Jesus is giving example from the front like a brave hero. His forty days of fasting in anticipation of the mission are something any serious Christian shall emulate. He also teaches us to resist temptations, which is very important in the Christian life.
Many movies and paintings have depicted scenes of temptation, and we are familiar with them. Most of them have depicted the tempter as an ugly creature, with long tails, dark-skinned, with horns, and so on. Not all devils are dark and ugly! Not all angels are fair, good-looking, and with a halo!
The tempter was polite in his dealings. He was apparently concerned and sympathetic that Jesus must be hungry after 40 days of fasting and prayer. Like a motivational trainer, he challenged him to prove that He was the Son of God. He did not ask Jesus to break any of the ten commandments. He just suggested a shortcut to overcome the immediate issue, of hunger, and fatigue. Jesus refused the shortcut. A shortcut when it violates the Divine plan is sin. It is part of the Divine decree that man shall work and convert soil to bread. Not that Jesus had not the authority. He bypassed this rule twice by multiplying bread a thousandfold to feed hungry listeners. But He would not do that to satisfy His hunger. So, beware of shortcuts! Beware of those who offer you shortcuts!
Then the devil is suggesting a jump to fame. An invitation to be an instant celebrity! A temptation to misuse His divinity to pull the crowd to Him. Jesus rejected it because even when the goals are noble, misusing your gifts is sinful. Owing to your office or authority, you have certain privileges. Use them, but never misuse them! Refrain from the temptation to be an instant celebrity. Take the long route to your success!
The third temptation is to compromise. Compromise on rules, if you want power and glory on earth! An outright suggestion to violate the very first commandment! Why did the devil have the audacity to attempt it against Jesus? Probably his experience! When power and glory are offered, even those very religious happen to compromise. Be watchful when you consider a compromise!
The tempter used the word of God to make his points. If your knowledge of the Bible is partial, then be careful! You could be trapped using parts of the scripture itself! Read your Bible daily. Read it from Genesis to Revelation. If Jesus had to use the scriptures to defend Himself against Satan, how much more do we need the Bible!!? Forgive me for repeating myself, but dedicate at least half an hour daily to reading the Bible. I hope and pray many have started the holy habit. Today is the right day to start it if you haven’t started it.
Defend yourself against temptations, using the word of God, and remind yourself that even when tempted to the core, Jesus is with you!