FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
(Violet) Cycle C/Year I
Dt 26:4-10/Rom 10:8-13/Lk 4:1-13
Today, just like thousand years ago, people worship not the real God but the gods and goddesses. The Greeks worshipped Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, etc. The Egyptians worshipped Osiris, Isis, Amun, Ptah, Re, etc. The Romans worshipped Jupiter, Neptune, Venus, Sol, Luna, etc. And our Filipino ancestors worshipped Bathala, Tala, Apolaki, etc. In this modern world, many people worship not anymore the mentioned gods and goddesses of old. What they worship are not those mythical figures which the human minds created and the human hands crafted; rather, they worship things that they love to possess such as money, properties, power, and even fame.
In the gospel for this Sunday, Jesus was tempted by Satan with the same temptations we are being subjected to by Satan: money, power and fame. These are the three major temptations inflicted by Satan to Jesus and which until now are being employed to us by the devil because these temptations address the basic needs of a human person: security, control and affirmation. Since these needs are basic to human subsistence, it seems normal for us human beings to succumb to those temptations by the devil and justify our weaknesses by reasoning out that we all need those things.
Indeed, we have our own human needs but we must be aware of the fact that money, power and fame are not necessarily the solutions to our needs. If we argue that those things are the solutions to our needs, we are reducing our humanity to animality, that is, we think that we live only in this and for this present world and that we are simply material bodies which demand material things. On the other hand, we are not only bodies because we were created by God in His own likeness and image. We, therefore, have our souls which are spiritual. And we are not meant to live only in this material world. The truth is that we were created by God to live with Him in His heavenly kingdom for eternity.
We, therefore, must live in accordance with our human nature: composed of body and soul and created in the image and likeness of God. Moreover, with the saving act of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, on the cross together with His resurrection, we were made children of God. Our vocation is to live as sons and daughters of God. Our obligation is to worship God as the only true God and at the same time to treat Him as our heavenly Father.
To worship God means to surrender our mind, heart, will and all our whole selves to God and make God the first priority of our life. It means to surrender ourselves to the will and plan of God. It also means to make Him our security, our control and our affirmation. Worshipping God is recognizing who we really are, simply creatures of God who have been blessed by God Himself to be His children. Because we are God’s children, we cannot treat Him with indifference. We must establish a loving relationship of love with Him. We must trust Him the way a little child trusts his/her father. We must entrust our lives to Him, believing that God our loving Father will never abandon us in the hour of our needs because He cares so much for us. How much does God care for us? He sent His only begotten Son on the cross so that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved and will have everlasting life.
Consequently, we are called to be genuine Christians who never live like pagans, worshipping money, power or fame. Rather, we must only worship God by giving and spending time with Him through prayer, by living His will and teachings, by entrusting our present and future life into His loving hands and by making Him the major reason and meaning of our earthly existence.