Jesus was the divine pilgrim to journey on earth , to have communion with mankind , and to live the prophecies foretold by God’s messengers from the moment of birth to the resurrection – fulfilling the most extraordinary promise of God … the gift of His Mercy and of Salvation through Christ our Lord.
This First Sunday in Lent is our personal pilgrimage which has begun with Ash Wednesday. We will now enter the world of prayer, sacrifice , spirituality and penance in a special way. Jesus was “ led by the spirit of God “, into the desert to confront Temptation and the evil-one.
In the lonely and vast miles of sand and solitude , in the barren and uninhabited wild appeared the devil. Satan was visibly frustrated to find Jesus fasting and in prayer. The demon decided to put temptation before Christ . To entice , inveigle , to provoke and dare Jesus to accept his vile offers.
In the Gospel of Mathew (4:1-11) we are told of the days when Jesus, led by the Spirit of God, was sent into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. The rugged paths , the empty wasteland, the scourging heat of the blazing sun, the long hours of prayer and fasting had thrown a challenge to his human being. Jesus’ body was weak , his lips dry and parched , his skin blistered , his eyes burning with the raging desert wind and spiriling sand. Jesus refused to be embedded in grief. He would not bow to the tortured flesh – there was much more to endure , to suffer and bear for the salvation and redemption of mankind – to pay the price for the forgiveness of their sins , to shed his blood and to die . In Psalm 51:2 we listen to the words of the psalmist : “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin ! “
Satan challenged Jesus. “ If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. “ (Mat.4:3).
Jesus saw the transparency in the plan of the malignant spirit. “ It is written, “ said Jesus , “ Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Furious with hidden anger the fiend took Christ to the highest pinnacle of a temple. “ If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down …(Mat.4:5-6). Jesus replied, “ It is written, “ You shall not tempt the Lord your God. “
Ultimately, the devil showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus turned to the devil and said in a loud voice : “ Begone , Satan ! for it is written, “ you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Mat.4:9-10).
Temptation is a virus which comes to all of us in many forms. Jesus met the enemy face-on. He dealt with temptation to help us understand the greater insight into the trust and mercy of God – to have faith in His word and to believe in His heavenly kingdom. Pope John Paul 11 once said, “ The faith is like a strike of lightning, illuminating everything. “. ( Rocco Buttinglione ).