Testing in the Desert

lent imagesCan you imagine how Jesus is when we meet him in this Sunday’s Gospel? After forty days of fasting in the desert how hungry and thirsty he must have been. This is why the devil chooses this time to tempt him, when he is at his weakest. He is hungry and vulnerable.

In our own lives, it is often at our most desperate times that we fall into temptation and sin. This is when our hunger or desire for something is so great that we are unable to see anything but the object we desire, be it a new job, a bigger car, perfect grades, to be more popular and liked by everybody, good health or simply that new pair of shoes. These are the times that we are so focused on what we want that we cannot see God, we forget to see what God wants for us.

In this week’s Gospel we see Jesus face such a situation head on. We see him tempted in the desert, but most importantly, we also see him overcome this temptation ‘Away with you, Satan!’  Jesus gives us encouragement and hope. We are reminded that like He did in today’s Gospel, we too are called to resist temptation and sin. If we do this we grow closer to God and play our part in the Christian mission to go out and build His Kingdom in the here and now.

The season of Lent offers us a yearly opportunity to undergo a conversion from sin. It is only when we abandon sin that we can truly begin to build up the Kingdom of God. Sin alienates us from God so it is imperative that we do all we can to avoid temptation. As with Jesus during his temptations in the desert, God the Father does not abandon us to sin. That is why we have the sacrament of reconciliation. Lent is a particularly appropriate time for us to go to confession and in the spirit of true repentance, to be assured that our sins are forgiven. Today’s Gospel shows us the commitment the Father has to the Son, the same commitment he has to each one of us. Now in Lent, it is time for us to turn from temptation and sin and renew our commitment to building up the Kingdom of God here and now.

GOSPEL REFLECTION FOR FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT: Matthew 4:1-11

 

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