Thursday March 3rd: A Selfless Life
March 3, 2022
Temptations as pitfalls
March 3, 2022

1st Sunday of Lent (C)

Standing on the Solid Rock

By Boniface Mutuku Kavita, third year seminarian

LUKE 4:1–13

If you standing on the solid rock

and you know the power that you got

you can say Satan, you can’t prevail

Satan, you got to fail

These lines, with its infectious melody, from the song ‘Rock of Ages’, by Jamaican Gospel vocalist Marvia Providence, are stuck in my head.

I can sing, “Satan, you can’t prevail” because of the victory of Jesus, the Rock. But Jesus also shows us how.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is exposed to three temptations. In a scene familiar to all Christians, Jesus is led by the Spirit through the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil for 40 days—a time for Satan to try to win Jesus through his tricks. The evil one failed on every attempt. Jesus, the man of the Spirit, was more than ready to face His enemy strategically and emerged victorious.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) makes a distinction between temptation and consenting to temptation. By consenting to temptation, we fall into sin (cf 2846).

The Catechism states, “The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death. We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation” (CCC, 2847).

My reflection will not so much focus on the three temptations of Jesus, but on three points that, the encounter of Jesus with the devil suggests.

The tempter is around

Jesus was fully aware of His visitor in the wilderness who was on a mission to destroy Him. Sometimes, as Christians, we can be blind to the seriousness of the devil’s attacks in our lives, not fully understanding the battle we are in. The devil is after our souls. He is relentless. St Luke notes, “when the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time” (4:13).

Remember to use the Scriptures

In confronting the devil, Jesus used scriptures repeatedly. We, too, need to use scriptures to fight temptation and our spiritual enemy, the devil. It is vital to be acquainted with the Word of God, so it becomes our ready weapon.

But ultimately, Jesus shows us how to enter into the battle and overcome Satan through prayer. “It is by prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the onset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony” (CCC 2849).

Be smart and strategic

The devil is at work every minute as he continues to redirect his failed mission from Jesus to us. The tempter knows how to strategise for his mission. Jesus, in His human nature, after having fasted 40 days would have needed something to eat, so He is tempted to turn stone into bread.

Satan has different strategies to tempt different people, at different times, and in different eras. We will need the help of the Lord who vanquished Satan, even as we become aware of the tempter’s unfolding schemes.

St Paul assures us, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).

Today’s wilderness

Jesus’ physical situation in those 40 days is not ours, but the same Spirit that led Jesus in the wilderness, will continue to lead us to resist temptation in our various modern wildernesses.

As we begin this Lenten season, standing on the victory Jesus has won for us, let us unite our hearts to His, through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

 

The gospel reflections for March are by seminarians of the Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict, St Augustine.





 

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