Gospel Reflection Mar 1 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, March 1
First Sunday of Lent
Matthew 4: 1 – 11
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
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 with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
A woman was shopping for a new dress and found the most stunning creation she had ever seen. But is was very expensive: $750. She knew she couldn’t afford it, but she had to at least see how she looked in it. So she tried it on and she looked beautiful. She knew someone else would see it and buy it before she could save up for it and she knew she had to have it so she bought it. That evening as she showed her husband how beautiful it was and how stunning she looked with it on, he asked the inevitable question: “how much did it cost?” When she told him he had a fit. She explained the temptation was more than she could resist. He told her that when she is tempted she needs to tell the devil: “get behind me, Satan!” She pleaded, “that’s what I did, and the devil told me it looks fantastic from the back too.”
Temptations always attract us to something that looks good, even though it will not be good for us in the long run — that is the nature of temptation. And we are all tempted, even Jesus who was perfect, for he was also human like us in every way except sin.
The familiar story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is always put before us on this first Sunday of Lent to encourage us to follow Jesus’ example, to set aside time for prayer and self-sacrifice so we can have the strength to overpower the temptations that come to all of us. In all three of our readings this weekend, we are told that evil finds its source in our decision to give in to temptation, in our attempt to make our own rules, and to use our free will to say “no” to God. As we begin this season of Lent may we look to Jesus, who has come to save us from evil and has shown us how to resist temptation.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino