First Week of Lent
Word of God
Read Matthew 4:1-11. Satan attempts to tempt the Lord Jesus to forsake His identity and for forget His mission. Living in the bond of life and love with God the father in the communion of God the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus knows who His is and why He has come into the world. His love for God the Father and for us meant that He would not allow anyone or anything to distract Him.
During Lent, we are preparing to renew our Baptismal Promises at Easter. We reject anything that leads us away from God. We remember our identity in God: beloved children of God the Father; beloved disciples of God the Son who gathers us into His Church; and beloved temples of God the Holy Spirit.
Satan tempts the Lord Jesus because Satan fears what will happen when the Lord Jesus accomplishes His mission. We are tempted because Satan is afraid of the impact of a practicing Christian. Temptation is an invitation to sin. It is not sin. We sin when we accept the invitation to sin. Remaining steadfast means cooperating with God to remain faithful. The Lord Jesus shows us how in His encounters with Satan.
The Lord Jesus does not debate with Satan about whether the temptation has merit because it does not. He quotes the Word of God, whose message always has merit. During the second temptation, Satan quotes Scripture. Being steadfast in learning the Word of God means accepting its proper context and interpretation.
Response: In what ways do you make reading the Word of God a part of your life? During experiences of triumph, trials, and temptations, God will help us to call to mind what He teaches to encourage us to remain steadfast.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #133: “The Church ‘forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’”
Catechism of the Catholic Church #2846: [Regarding the petition, “and lead us not into temptation”]: “This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to ‘lead’ us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both ‘do not allow us to enter into temptation’ and ‘do not let us yield to temptation.’ ‘God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one’; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle ‘between flesh and spirit’; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.”