March 1, 2020 – First Sunday of Lent

Today’s Gospel reading is about Jesus’ temptation in the desert.  Lent for us is a reliving of Christ’s experience.  Jesus, before he began his public ministry after baptism, went to the desert to pray for forty days.  He was tempted by the devil three times.  In the first temptation, the devil was asking Jesus to command stones into bread.  Satan knew that hunger was a weak spot and wanted him to gratify it instantly.

Dearest sisters and brothers, when we reflect about our life’s struggles, that is the same tactic that devil uses today.  He always tries to get to us through our weak spots.  Can we identity those weak spots in order to guard against them?  That is what our fasting in Lent is meant to do; reminding us that life is not simply about gratifying our desires and wants.

Our society teaches us that instant gratification of our wants and desires is the best way to enjoy life.  Yet, rather than keeping us satisfied, they lead us to becoming slaves to our passions and desires.  Today, many are enslaved to their different evil habits:  gossiping; being jealous of others; consumption of delicacies of all types; buying things when they do not need them, becoming shopaholics; power to control others; slaves to work, drugs, sex, alcohol, and so forth.

The second and third temptation,was along the same line:  power and wealth. The devil wanted him to show his miraculous power by falling down the parapet and promised Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.  It is all the same lies that our society is repackaging to us today telling us that whatever we want or desire we can have. Yet, the problem is that we are never be satisfied.  We keep wanting more and more until we become addicted.

It is these temptations that our Lenten penance is meant to help us to overcome.  Lent is like a trumpet blast calling us back to the basics of the spiritual life:  penance, almsgiving, fasting, and prayer which are meant to reconnect us with God.  We saw how Adam and Eve rejected God by wanting to become like God. Christ on the other hand, accepted in obedience his humanity even when the devil wanted him to do otherwise.  Lent is a call for us to imitate Christ’s absolute obedience to his Father.