A reflection on the readings for March 9, 2014, the First Sunday in Lent.
This week’s readings focus on events of temptation, in the garden and in the desert. Temptation is an unwelcome feeling. I have witnessed a common stance among my generation: “If God didn’t want me to succumb, he wouldn’t have let me be tempted in the first place.” And yet, Jesus, who is fully man but also fully God, endured incomprehensible temptation after the 40 days in the desert. Do they believe they have more merit than God?
It is a common adage to say “God will never give you anything you can’t handle,” but I much prefer “God will never allow you anything He can’t handle.”
When we receive temptation, we are called to respond in a righteous way. We are called to imitate Jesus, especially as in Matthew 4:1-11.Turn to God in times of temptation. Lenten sacrifices can be difficult, but remember in humility:
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)“The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10)
"Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism."- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI- Angelus Homily, February 21st, 2010