Scripture Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Lent
by Brandon Jubar
Reading I: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Reading II: Romans 10:8-13
GOSPEL: Luke 4:1-13
Do you have some not-so-good impulses?
I don’t think I’m a bad person, and yet I seem to have more than my share of not-so-good impulses. Nothing really terrible, mind you, but not necessarily things to be proud of. I used to think that there was something wrong with me. How could a good person be tempted to belittle someone, for instance? Isn’t that just rotten and extremely abnormal? Maybe I need to see a therapist!
If you’re in the same boat (or in a similarly rickety craft), then take heart. In this Sunday’s gospel reading, we see that Jesus was tempted, too – by the devil himself.
Temptation is Normal
Jesus is God. But this week we see yet again that he was also fully human. The Spirit led him into the desert after he had been baptized in the Jordan. In fact, scriptures say that he “was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.”
The Spirit took him there to be tempted – and tested! Is it any surprise that the Spirit does that to us too?
Jesus was human and, being human, he felt the pull of the temptations the devil held out before him. Does that mean he was a bad person? Does it mean he was less holy because these ideas even crossed his mind?
The fact that Jesus was tempted should not cause us to question his divinity or holiness – it simply reflects his humanity. When people remember that Jesus himself was tempted, it should come as a great relief! For if Christ, the Messiah himself, had to deal with temptations, then we know that we’re okay when we have to deal with ours.
The Way You Respond Is What Counts
It’s important to know that Jesus faced temptations. But it’s even more important to note that Jesus did not give in to them. Try as he might, the devil just couldn’t get Jesus to take the bait. No matter what the devil said or did, Jesus had a response; and those responses were taken from scripture.
Perhaps that is a good lesson to end on. When you’re standing face-to-face with your demon – whatever it may be – you shouldn’t have to “wing it”. By relying on the Holy Scriptures and our Catholic beliefs, we should always be able to resist the devil. There is not only wisdom but also strength in the stability of the Church and her teachings. With the Spirit as our foundation and our guide, perhaps we can look temptation in the eye and just say “no” to those not-so-good impulses!
How would you describe your impulsiveness?
What are some temptations you face on a regular basis?
How do you respond to the temptations you face?
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