The Church has been through a lot this week. Our Holy Father has confronted and revealed his human weakness and in humility has retired from the Petrine Ministry given him.
The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways and so when Jesus becomes ‘filled with the Holy Spirit,’ as He does in today’s Gospel, He is moved into the desert to confront and reveal. Jesus was just not pretending to be tempted. His humanity was so complete that the devil himself felt arrogant enough to approach Jesus face to face.
Jesus confronts these temptations and from these temptations He reveals the Truth that conquers lies.
The first lie is that you need material things to satisfy your hunger for sin. But Jesus reveals that there is more to life than material things. The second lie is that if you make other people gods and allow them to lead you into sin, you will have power and glory. But Jesus reveals that we should worship God alone and be led by Him to heaven. Him alone do we serve.
And the third deception is if you put God to the test by trying to bargain with Him. If you try to use Him as an excuse for why you make bad decisions or why bad things have happened to you. If you make yourself God, the angels will help you and lift you up. Jesus reveals, ‘You shall not put the Lord to the test.’
We confront these temptations every day. We need prayer and spiritual disciplines to face these deceptions and be open to the revelation of Jesus from the Cross on Calvary. We need to call upon Jesus to help us.
When Saint Paul tells us “no one who believes in Him will be put to shame,” he means that we will never be left alone. We will always have parishioners to help us, the Sacraments to strengthen us, Saints to lift us up, and Jesus to love us. We are not alone.
Today begins our parish’s special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. These next Forty Hours will be a turning point in our lives if we leave off our temptation not to participate and make every effort to attend. There is great power here. We have much to pray for, much to be thankful for and much to adore.
Friends, like life, Lent can be difficult, but it is also a gift that helps us confront the reality of sin in our life and reveal the power of His reconciling love.