Bottom line: Like Jesus we want to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures and know them in context, but ultimately our salvation comes from reliance on his grace.
St Matthew tells us that the Spirit led Jesus into the the desert "to be tempted by the devil." Jesus faced temptations in his humanity. Now, as God Jesus could have simply said, "be gone." But he did not draw on that unlimited power. He faced temptations as a man. Why?
The Letter to the Hebrews gives the answer, "Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." When you or I are tested or tempted - when we want to give up - we can turn to Jesus.
Jesus shows us the way to face temptation. We see above all that Jesus is immersed in the Scriptures. After 40 gruelings days which correspond to the 40 years of the Israelites in the desert, the devil points out how the stones look like small loaves of bread. Use your power to satisfy youself, he says. Jesus responds with a word from the Bible:
"One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God."
Now, the devil of course can quote Scripture - but he does it out of context. He takes a verse from a Psalm about trusting God, then distorts it. He tells Jesus to throw himself down from the parapet of the temple. God won't allow you, he says, "to dash your foot against a stone."
Jesus knows more than isolated Bible verses. He recalls all that happened in the desert when the people tested God even though they had seen his work.. So he responds with Moses' words: "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
At this point the devil lays all his cards on the table. He tells Jesus that he can give him wealth, power, pleasures beyond imagining. The devil can deliver the goods. All it takes it takes is an act of homage.
We are made for worship. As Bob Dylan said:
"You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody."
When the devil invites a person to worship him, that's when we have to ask Jesus power to say, "Get away, Satan."
Like Jesus we want to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures and know them in context, but ultimately our salvation comes from reliance on his grace. He alone show us what it means to trust ourselves to God. Remember, it is written:
"The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve."
Homilies for First Sunday of Lent ("Temptation Sunday"):
From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru