Sunday readings in brief 1 Lent Year A
Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 50(51); Romans 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11
Temptations and Sin
Dear friends, today we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent. Let is a period of deep contemplation upon the love of God for us that was demonstrated through the suffering and death of his Christ. During the 40 days of Lent, the liturgy gives us a chance to reflect upon our lives and see if we live according to the demands of our faith and if we have flaws to amend them through repentance. Repentance of our sins and amendment of our ways help us to reconcile with God and our neighbours. To assist us do meaningful repentance and amendment, we have three main Lenten observances namely: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These we are supposed to observe every day in and out of season. However, during the Lenten season we increase their intensity for a period of 40 days as we walk the way of cross with Jesus. If we are faithful to these observances, at the climax of these days we will have achieve a positive change hence becoming better Christians.
During this season, we constantly think about sin and its consequences in our individual life as well as in the society. In the first reading, the origin of sin is traced back to the disobedience of the first man and woman. Even though God gave them everything they needed, and they were satisfied, someone, the devil, sowed in them the seed of evil desire. Though they passed by the tree that God forbid them every day, they never desired its fruits until the devil tempted them by making them doubt God’s intentions. Dear friends, this is also true in our lives. When we were baptized we were cleansed of the marks of the original sin. However, as we grow up the devil and his agents teach us evil.
For example, when we move to new places to work study or do business, we feel that we are starting life all over. We even plan how we want to see things positively and do everything well from the beginning. However, no sooner we settle down than we meet people who fill our minds with evil about the place and the people there. Before we realize it, we are mixed up in the mess. One we are messed up the tempter vanishes out of the scene. To get out of this mess we need to move again to another place and the cycle repeats itself. The evil one has agents everywhere and we need to be bold enough to rejects their enticements.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us how to overcome devil’s temptations. This is by controlling three main types of appetites that are normally the source of man and woman’s downfall. The first appetite is about the desires of the body that are represented by the Bread. The devil knows how to get into us when we are hungry and vulnerable. If we learn how to control our bodily urges and desires with the grace of God, we will pass the test.
The second one is the appetite for fame. Many of us would like to be on top of everyone in our communities, workplace, and in the neighbourhood. The best way to get there is to work harder and smarter than everyone in whatever we do. However, we are not ready walk the tough road to the top we want to get on the top with minimum or no work at all. Being aware of this desire in us, the devil comes in with different enticing packages to choose. What he or she does not tell us is the price that we will have to pay. The devil works like creditors who convince you that you need to take a loan and though the hiked interest rates are there, we seem not to see them until it is time to pay back the loan.
The third one is the appetite for power and material wealth. Though it has been proven millions of time that easy acquired power and material wealth cannot bring us true happiness, many of us still covet them with every breath that we have. The problem is that many want to be powerful and wealth but very few want to sweat for it. The devil is aware of this and he comes with his enticing proposals including worshipping him to get powerful and wealth overnight. Again, like the creditors, the hefty price to be paid is normally hidden from our eyes. We end up entering into contracts with the devil that eventually cost us and our families a lot of pain.
Dear friends, Jesus came to the world to teach us how to defeat the devil and make it back to our heavenly home. Like us, he lived, was tempted in all ways but stood by the instructions of his Father who sent him and won over the evil one. If we call upon him and give him some space in our lives, he promised to help us to overcome evil until the end of the world.
Have a fruitful Lenten season
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (See also http://www.svdkentan.com)
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