FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
(Violet) Cycle A/Year I (March 5, 2017)
Gn 2:7-9, 3:1-7/Rom 5:12-19/Mt 4:1-11
Perhaps, nobody can deny the fact that each of us has experienced temptation in different ways. Many are tempted to eat a lot, some are tempted to quit the job, others to play a game and still others to take a rest. This kind of temptation is usual in our daily experiences. But the kind of temptation that the bible is telling us is the one that leads us to commit sin. This temptation is done by the evil one. God can never be the cause of temptation since it will be against His goodness. When God tempts us, it simply means that God puts us to the test.
Temptation is as old as the age of the humanity. At the beginning of creation, when God created the humanity through Adam and Eve, the devil tempted them to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of such temptation, Adam and Eve fell into Original Sin and, with them, the whole humanity. Humanity then has been separated from God.
In the gospel for this first Sunday of Lent, the temptation story in the beginning of creation is somehow remembered and even compared with the temptation story of Jesus. Adam was the first man who fell into the temptation of evil, bringing with him the whole humanity into sin and death. Jesus, the God-made-man, is sent by God the Father to save mankind from the evil one and to bring it back into communion with God, his Creator. Jesus Christ is then commissioned to renew the whole creation which was separated from God through the sin of Adam. His mission is to replace the No of Adam to the will of God with His Yes to it.
While Adam fell into temptation, Jesus won over the devil’s temptations. With Christ’s faithfulness and obedience to the will of God, He has won for us eternal life and salvation. But Christ’s winning over temptation was not an easy task. Though God as He is, Jesus Christ is also a perfect man. He also experiences all our weaknesses and even being temptation. The only thing is that He never yields into temptation but fights against it and against the tempter.
Many of us feel the temptation not only to do things that we like but even to commit sin. The temptation by the devil for us to commit sin is usually concealed in our selfish desires, comforts in life, and even indifference to the needs of others. We are usually deceived by the devil because we hardly notice his enticements as they are camouflaged in what pleases us. In order for us to know whether what pleases us is a lure of the devil, we have to know whether it will lead us to our selfish enjoyment or not. If it is for our selfish enjoyment it is certainly bait of the devil and to give in into it is to commit sin. On the other hand, if what pleases us leads us and others towards the love of God and neighbors, then we are certain that it is the guidance of God.
Nowadays, not many of us are strong enough and are willing enough to fight temptation. Many simply give in to the temptation because giving in is not only the easiest way to confront temptation but also the one that will lead us towards the realization of our selfish desires. The problem is that giving in into temptation is surrendering us to the devil. As Christians, we should fight against all the enticements of the devil like what Christ did in the desert even to the point of undergoing excruciating sacrifices and pains and even to the point of death.
While we live here on earth, we are usually put into the test because the earth is a testing ground for us so that God may be able to determine who the worthy ones to enter the heavenly Kingdom are. We have no right to blame God for putting us into the test because even His very own Son was put into the test in the whole duration of his earthly existence. Temptation has been part of our situation in this earthly life. As Christians, we must follow the example of Christ of fighting against it and the tempter so that we may become worthy to attain eternal life and salvation.
God calls us to be faithful to Him amidst all the temptations and difficulties in this earthly life. We have to be strong not to give in to the tests. Rather, we must ask the grace of God because only and only with the help of God can we defeat the mighty evil. Christ prayed for forty days and forty nights before He was able to fight and win over the temptations. We too must be in constant communion with God through prayers so that we may have the capacity to fight evil.