Gospel Reflection: First Sunday in Lent
Malvern Minute

 

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

FEBRUARY 14, 2016

Glory and praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ

One does not live on bread alone,

But on every word that comes from the mouth of God

Glory and praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ

 

The Gospel of Saint 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.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Once again, our Heavenly Father demonstrates His incredible mercy and patience by giving us another Lenten Season so that we may open ourselves up to His transforming power to make us holy.  Saint Luke initiates this holy season by providing the story of Jesus’ temptations made dramatic by His intense exchange with the devil.  Today’s Gospel revolves around three constitutive elements: the Power of the Holy Spirit; Life’s Desert Journey; and Human Temptations to deviate from the Way of God.

Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River and Jesus was Filled with the Holy Spirit.  Immediately, the Spirit led Jesus into human life’s desert experience where even He must confront the challenges of choosing between selfishness and idolatry, and trust in and worship of the true God.

Saint Luke reveals a dramatic series of events in the life of Jesus, but he does it for our welfare.  Like Jesus, we too are filled with the Holy SpiritWe too are led by the Spirit through life’s desert experiences in which we have to confront evil and make God-centered choices.  With God’s grace, especially during this Lenten Season, we begin to see more clearly that our life journey is very similar to the life of Jesus in which we confront evil and dispel it the same way Jesus did – through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us look closely at the three temptations of Jesus so that we may better understand how they manifest the root of all human sin.  Jesus’ forty days in the desert brings to mind the Jews’ Desert (Exodus) experience.  During their forty years in the desert God provided them their daily bread, but they were permitted to take only enough for one day.  Through this they were to learn that God is trustworthy, and that they needed to rely on Him alone. This temptation has to do with dependence on God and His Word which satisfies all human hunger — one does not live on bread alone.  Not trusting enough in our Benevolent Father and worrying so much is a life-long temptation.

The perpetual human sin of idolatry is exposed in the Second Temptation.  When stress and anxiety enter life, when fear and dread grow in one’s heart, one can be tempted to find another god to rely on and to worship — You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.  The world is anxious to worship money, fame, and status, and we are often afraid to rely on God and commit ourselves to Him alone.  Overwhelmed with fear when Moses was taking too long on the mountain, the Jews asked Aaron to make a golden image for them to worship!  Only God can remove dread and fear.

If the First Temptation is not trusting that God will provide our daily bread; and the Second Temptation is allowing fear to drive us to our knees before an alien god; then, the Third Temptation is refusing to allow God to give us what He knows is best instead of demanding what we want, when we want it — you shall not put the Lord, your God to the test.  During the Exodus the Jews grumbled (murmured) about the bread, meat and water that God provided because they wanted something else.

As Lent begins, Saint Luke presents the temptations that Jesus confronted because they are the temptations that everyone who wants to be faithful experiences almost daily.  However, Saint Luke also teaches that we need not fear temptations because like Jesus we too have the Power of the Holy Spirit!

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

REJOICE & WITNESS

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

addiction-support family find-us history grief-or-loss marriage mens storiespng testimonial womens young-adulthood healing our-grounds prayers calendar malvern-live retreats2go plan-your-visit donate