The temptation of Jesus
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - March 5, 2017 - 12:00am

It is the 1st Sunday of Lent and indeed the time has come for the Catholic faithful to slow down, after all, just a couple of months ago we finished celebrating the Christmas season, then we enjoyed the festive Sinulog Festival, the Chinese New Year, and, yes, Valentine’s Day. All those celebrations nourish our bodies with food and wine and nice clothes. But if you recall last week’s gospel reading when our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Indeed, life is not just to focus on material things simply because man by our very nature is made of flesh and spirit and while we nourish our flesh, our spirits too need nourishment and to do so means for us to slow down a bit, visit the Blessed Sacrament and commune with God. I’m sure that when we celebrated Ash Wednesday last week, millions of the Catholic faithful went to our churches and had their foreheads marked with ashes and went on fasting and abstinence to prepare themselves for the coming Holy Week. So let’s start this 1st Sunday of Lent with today’s reading of the Holy Gospel in Matt.4: 1-11.

“4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

***

This incident happened at the beginning of the Galilean ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, where after his baptism he withdrew to the desert to pray and went fasting for forty days and forty nights. After he had completed this, Satan appeared and he knew that Jesus was by now very hungry and in his weakest state of body, but instead of offering the Lord food or bread to eat, he told Jesus “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

We know enough later that our Lord could turn water into wine, so turning stones into bread would have been easy for the Lord, but Jesus was not about to show Satan that he could do miracles and dismissed the latter saying that “Man shall not live by bread alone!”

Failing to tempt the Lord, Satan tried tempting him two more times, one for Jesus to jump from the highest point of the Wall of Jerusalem where Jesus told him, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Failing all that, Satan shows the Lord all the major cities that he would give to Jesus if he worshiped Satan. “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the Lord banished Satan from his sight and the angels came to minister to him. For this season of Lent, we too must banish evil away from us and return to the fold of God through the sacrament of reconciliation and have a very spiritual Season of Lent rather than have a Holy Week vacation.

***

For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@moscom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

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