Just as Jesus was loyal to His Father in the time of temptation, we must also trust Him and accept His will
Reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Lent (March 6, 2022): DT 26:4-10; PS 91:1-2,10-11,12-13,14-15; ROM 10:8-13; LK 4:1-13
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Three times, the devil tries to persuade Jesus to make some choice that would please or benefit Himself rather than serve the will of the Father.
In today’s Gospel taken from St. Luke we find Jesus shortly after His baptism. The Holy Spirit had descended upon Him and His Father had claimed Him as His own beloved Son. Before starting His public mission, Christ goes into the desert for forty days of prayer and fasting. But it also became a time of temptation by the devil. Three times, the devil tries to persuade Jesus to make some choice that would please or benefit Himself rather than serve the will of the Father. First, the devil tries to get our Savior to use His power to turn a stone into bread and satisfy His natural hunger. Jesus refuses. Then the devil offers Him all the kingdoms of the world and all the power and glory that would come with them. Again, Jesus refuses. Each time Christ cited Scripture to refute the devil. Then the devil makes one final effort and, this time, he uses Scripture in his impudent attempt to convince Jesus to sin. “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. … 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” (Luke 4:9-10,12-13).
“If You are the Son of God.” That is exactly who Jesus is. But that is not all He is. He is also the very human Son of Mary. These temptations Christ faced were real. Yet He did not give in to them, but that does not mean they did not hold some attraction. Our Lord did not eat bread when He was hungry. He knew that His people need Him to be the Bread of Life. He did not want any earthly kingdoms. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to Him. He did not put on an exhibition of His power. Instead, He would use His ultimate authority and personal sacrifice to utterly destroy the consequences of sin and death. So our Redeemer always understands us when we ask His help in choosing to do good and avoid evil.
Suggested missionary action: Rather than trying to ignore temptations on our own, let us pray for Christ’s guidance. By entrusting ourselves wholeheartedly to His care and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will strive to emulate Him and turn away from urges that trouble us.