March 10, 2019: First Sunday of Lent
Reading: Luke 4:1-13
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.
We’ve all been tempted. When we are it is because we see something good and attractive, something that satisfies a particular desire. We wouldn’t be tempted by what would inflict pain on us. But, it’s a temptation because it isn’t good for us, we have no right to it, or we would be getting it in a wrong or illegitimate way.
We make choices in our daily lives that are often temptations but not always clearly so, not obviously something we should avoid or turn away from. To be able to recognize those temptations we need a strong faith and firm trust in God so as to “do good and avoid evil.”
Faith does not grow and flourish unless it is fed. Our Lenten practices — prayer, fasting, alms-giving, scripture reading — should feed our faith, helping us to make the right choices when confronted with temptations. If you have not adopted these or other faith nourishing practices for your Lenten journey it’s never too late to begin.