Sermon: The Temptations of Jesus
First Sunday of Lent
Mt 4: 1-11
“The Temptations of Jesus”
Jesus wanted to suffer temptation; he was like us in everything but sin. Temptations last our entire lifetime and are absolutely necessary as we are told by St. Augustine.
This passage tells us of three temptations. In the first temptation, the devil suggests that Jesus use his powers to his own benefit by turning stones into bread to satiate his hunger after forty days of fasting. We all have our mission from God, and we are “slaves” to our mission; we cannot betray God by changing the focus of our mission. In these difficult times, many betray their mission by teaching not the Word of God, but their own. Soon God will put an end to this.
In the second temptation, Jesus is taken to the pinnacle of the Temple where the devil suggests that he throw himself down, allowing the angels to carry him softly to the ground. The result would be the general acclamation of the people, converting them to him. This is the invitation to run from the cross and follow the easy path. The cross is believed to deprive us of our well-being and happiness. The Church has eliminated the ideas of the cross, suffering and effort. The shunning of the cross is especially seen in the Novus Ordo Mass, which has been reduced to a banquet and a get-together for the community. It’s meaning was always that of the making present of the death of Christ on the Cross.
In our times mercy is spoken about in the absence of justice. Such a thing will mean the condemnation of many, because there can be no mercy if there is no repentance on the part of he who asks for mercy. To ask God for mercy without previous repentance is to ask of him what is unjust; it is to ask him to legalize a sinful situation, something God can never do.
In the last temptation, the devil takes Jesus to the top of a mountain and tells him that everything he sees from there is his, and that the devil will give it all to Jesus if he kneels and adores him. The answer Jesus gives is only too well known to us, “God alone will you serve…”. Man has made many idols which he now serves and holds as objects of his adoration.
Many Christians have knelt before Satan, but God has reserved 7000 men who have not bent their knee before Baal, as we read in the First Book of Kings.
Christ overcame the temptations and showed us the way to do the same. For this he gives us his grace. We live in times that are both difficult and marvelous at the same time. We must stand strong and not be fooled by false teachers and prophets.