First reading Genesis 2:7-9;31-7
Second reading Romans 5:12-19
Gospel Matthew 4: 1-11
Since last Wednesday we have started a new spiritual journey, the Lenten period. We have begun a forty days journey of fasting, praying, and almsgiving. This is a moment to be closer to God through our ways of living. The Lenten period offers us an opportunity to be familiar with the word of God in deep. Therefore, today being the first Sunday in the Lenten season, the word of God is inviting us to reflect on the theme: “The temptation and how to overcome it”. Today’s readings tell us that the devil is always near us and he does everything possible to trap us. But as Christians, we have the power to resist all his seductions.
Thus in the first reading taken from the book of Genesis, the sacred author has stressed how God out of his genius intention has breathed into the nostrils of our first parents. This means that Adam and Eve belong to God because they became the living soul. As creatures of God, freedom was given to them but unfortunately, both Adam and Eve misused their freedoms.
The serpent deceived Eve by asking her “Did God say you shall not eat of any tree of the garden? This question led Eve to doubt God by saying “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but God said you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die”. Through her answer, Eve actually manifested her bitterness and her opposition against God’s recommendation. She quickly abandoned God’s recommendation and accepted the proposal of the serpent. She accepted the suggestion of the serpent and convinced her husband Adam to eat the fruit. Both of them failed to keep the commandment of the Lord.
The first Adam did not keep the commandment however, the second Adam in the person of Jesus Christ has demonstrated to us that it is possible to keep God’s recommendation. This is the central theme of the gospel of today. The Spirit of the Lord led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The same devil who seduced Eve in the first reading has tempted our Lord Jesus Christ. He took an advantage of Jesu’s situation in the wilderness thinking that Jesus would fall into his trap like Eve. Three times he tried to deceive him: “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread”, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…”, “I will give you all these if you will fall down and worship me”. To each question, Jesus replied by quoting the Torah: the first response is coming from Deuteronomy 8: 3b, Satan based his second question on Psalm 91:11–12 but Jesus used Deuteronomy 6:16 to silence the tempter. To the third temptation, Jesus summarized chapter thirty-two of Exodus by simply saying “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve”. Dear friends, Jesus Christ won over the devil not because he is the Son of God but because he is united to God his Father and treasured the word of God in his heart.
Through Adam and Eve sin entered into the world but Jesus the new Adam defeated sin through his sacrifice on the cross. This is the message that saint Paul tried to communicate to the Romans. All of them (Adam, Eve, and Jesus) received the same recommendation while Adam and Eve decided to doubt God, Jesus put his trust in the Lord and by doing so he was able to defeat the devil.
Dear friends, reflecting on the liturgical readings of today with the theme “Temptation and how to overcome it”, we are called to know that the tempter, the devil is near us, he is looking for an opportunity to trap us. Let us be awake. In order to be awake and to dismantle his plans, there are three things to be aware of:
- Never doubt God’s commandment, Eve doubted the commandment which God gave them. From the moment we start doubting God and his commandment, we are giving an opportunity to the tempter to enter into our lives.
- Be familiar with the word of God: we have noticed that Jesus silenced the devil by quoting him the biblical verses. The only way we can let the devil be far away from us is by knowing the word of God and how to implement it.
- To be aware of the sacrifice which Jesus has done for us: Jesus has redeemed us by dying for our sins. By acknowledging this we recognize the fact that our entire lives depend on God; therefore, we must put aside pride and selfishness.
Brethren, the Lenten season is a period that calls us to be humble and to return to God as the first reading of ash Wednesday reminded us. May this first Sunday of lent help us to search for God and to return to him with sincerity, amen.
Fr. Agre Issere, SVD
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