WORD of the DAY
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”: Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him. (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Lent has begun with its strong invitation to conversion, to return to God with a more assiduous reading of His Word, a more intense and prolonged prayer, with fasting and works of mercy. Today, we are presented with the temptations of Jesus.
-The first temptation shows us the absolutizing of material things to the point of forgetting true spiritual values that give true life beyond death. Jesus says clearly that we cannot live by things (bread) alone. We must accept the fragility of our earthly existence as a human condition, learning day by day to hunger for God more and more.
-The second temptation is that of adoring idols instead of God. These idols can be success, power, money, all that can keep us from abandoning ourselves to the One God who is trustworthy. Where God is not present, the idols enter in.
-The third temptation is the abuse of God’s name, which today is very real even in some Christian sectors. We cannot use God’s name for something that is intrinsically evil, like killing others or making people suffer, all which is still happening today!
The voice of the Liturgy – Preface of the First Sunday of Lent
By abstaining forty long days from earthly food, He consecrated through His fast the pattern of our Lenten observance and by overturning the snares of the ancient serpent, taught us to cast out the leaven of malice, so that celebrating worthily the Paschal Mystery, we might pass over at last to the eternal paschal feast.