‘HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, February 21, 2010

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ…This is the First Sunday of Lent, Cycle C.  Here again are some quotes from the catechism that may help your understand of the readings for this Sunday.

           538 The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John.  Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him.241  At the end of his time, Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God.  Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”.242

            539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given into temptation.  Jesus fulfills Israel’s vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God’s Servant, totally obedient to the divine will.  In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror:  he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder.243  Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

            540 Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of Man is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him.244  This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.”245  By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself every year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

            2119 Tempting God consists in putting his goodness and almighty power to the test by word and deed.  Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act.49  Jesus opposed Satan with the Word of God: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.”50  The challenge contained in such tempting of God wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord.  It always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power.51

            Other passages from the catechism for your enrichment would be 2846-2854.  Enjoy!

                                                                                                  Fr. Michael Phillippino       
                                                                                          SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

  

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