Gospel Reflection Mar 6 – Fr. Lynch

Sunday, March 6

First Sunday of Lent

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,
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.

Gospel Reflection:

The refrain found in the responsorial psalm is “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” Did you know this is also a type of prayer in and of itself? Trouble could mean a variety of things, one’s health, one’s spiritual well-being, safety, etc.., but I would focus in on it as a “Fox Hole” prayer in a sense. Like if you or I, (which I pray you or I never do) get pulled over by a police officer for speeding. Aka breaking the law.

In the moment we realize that we were speeding either intentionally or unintentionally, we say to God, “if you get me out of this without a ticket I will never speed again…”, to which then by some miracle maybe we actually do not get that ticket we deserved…We then faithfully follow the promise we made in our prayer to God that entire day until the next day or week or month, when all of a sudden we find ourselves speeding again.

Sound familiar? Well hopefully not, but if it does, we must ask ourselves is this the best quality of prayer or conversation we can make with God, a deal with God’s prayer? At the end of the Gospel passage today we hear from Jesus, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test!”

In the Gospel today, this goes hand in hand for us and with what the devil does in tempting Jesus out in the desert. We find temptations in life in all kinds of ways. Jesus shows us in his dialogue with the devil that He is the One who has come to meet temptation face to face, and His example shows us the way to overcome it. Christ’s example shows us to be steadfast in our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and through Christ we then can overcome all temptations.

The devil, believe it, is a fallen angel, meaning Jesus Christ has come to conquer that which He has created. The pride and arrogance of the evil one is on full display in this scene in the desert. The fact is, Jesus and the devil aren’t on equal grounds. Jesus is the Word made flesh which spoke into existence all that is created, and the devil is a subset of that creation, part of the fallen order and incorrect use of free will.

The humanity of Jesus teaches us that with Jesus we too can overcome any temptation thrown our way with God’s grace. Jesus can take the devil on one-on-one and easily defeat him. We cannot do it alone. We need Jesus and each other to live out and build up God’s kingdom.

As we venture out into our own deserts this Lenten season, may we, through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, grow in holiness and overcome temptations. Remember temptations are not sins, but they do lead us to sin, which is away from God, and Jesus’ mercy and reconciliation is what brings us back!

May we utilize this Lenten season to truly prepare ourselves and our families for the Holiest time in the Church, The Tridium — Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Resurrection celebrated at Easter. St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!

Father Tim Lynch

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