Sunday, March 05, 2006


Today's traditional Mass Gospel is from Matthew 4: 1-11, Jesus is tempted by the devil. After 40 days of fasting, hungry and lonely, the tempter came and tempted Jesus to First: to distrust His father's care: "If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread";
Secondly: to presume upon the Father's miraculous intervention: "If thou art the Son of God, throw thyself down; for it is written,
'He has given his angels charge concerning thee;
And upon their hands they shall bear thee up,
Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone'
And thirdly: to apostatize totally and to worship him: "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
We know the outcome as Jesus answered the devil with Scripture and finally dismissed him by saying, "Begone, Satan!"
As we struggle with our Lenten resolutions, our natural inclinations start to reassert themselves, so we are tempted to discouragement or a slackening of them. Maybe we forgot and ate some meat on Friday. Maybe the thought that fasting or giving up something (like TV or meat, etc.) for forty days is too much for us. Weak that we are, it is easy to quickly give up what we had promised, but a holy priest once said to me, "The road to Hell is paved with good resolutions." I think he means that if we are not going to keep those resolutions, we shouldn't have said them in the first place.
I heard that Pope Paul VI was asked why he relaxed the Lenten regulations after Vatican II and he responded "Because the Holy Spirit knows that many people would go to hell for not keeping them."
Sometimes we are tempted to think about our own personal problems, our ills or our poverty, and we tend to forget about the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, we quickly stop donating alms or visiting the sick! I know cause I've been there. Feeling sorry for my own ills, I neglected someone who needed me. Lord, forgive me my selfishness!
Jesus, our Brother, showed us that we can overcome temptations and these temptations can be a way of redeeming souls -- our own and those of others, especially our loved ones. "In that he himself has suffered and has been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted." (Heb. 2:18) Christ's suffering and death have redeemed all mankind, and have won for each of us the grace to resist every temptation and to grow in holiness. Through our union with Christ, especially in the Eucharist, we can enrich many souls!
O Lord, we solemnly offer you our sacrifice at the beginning of Lent, and pray that by observing abstinence we may also learn to avoid sinful pleasures. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear nothing.