Saturday, February 16, 2013
First Sunday of Lent: "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"
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil."
We are so often tempted by the devil as we read Jesus was in the Gospel today. We experience "deserts" when we feel alone before the world and helpless in temptation. But this is because we so often try to do so only under our own resources. We have to learn what Jesus teaches by His example in the first Lent, His forty days in the desert.
"The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart"
Jesus Christ, true God, yes, but at the same true Man, went into the desert armed with the power of His Father through grace by faith, but He had to choose to do so. He teaches us that we must make that same choice if we are to share in His victory over sin and death at the end of the Lent of this life and this world, a desert in comparison with the glory and joy of heaven, our true homeland.
"You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.”
Worship here together of the Lord Jesus, who shows us the Father, is our oasis in the desert and our training for the life we lead in the "desert" of daily life with its challenges and difficulties, but also with its hopes and dreams. Faith made strong by worship is the armor we wear into battle for our salvation in Christ. Our intimacy with the Word of God in Scripture makes it possible for the Word to be "near" us, in our mouths for prayer and proclamation and in our hearts by love for Him.
"He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you"
How does the temptation of Christ help us? By showing us the way of escape to freedom by means of the grace He guarantees to us. We are given Jesus Christ in our sacramental life, above all in the Eucharist, so that we will be gaurded and guided as He was by grace together with the saints and angels who intercede for us.
We are never alone in the desert of temptation for He is with us always, as He promised, even until the end of the world.
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.