The Pastor’s Thoughts — February 26, 2023, 1st Sunday of Lent

March 1, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights and was tempted.”

We have started our Lenten journey to empty ourselves of the temptations to focus on ourselves, so that we can be filled with God’s love and grace and to have as our only desire, to do His will. Lent, then, is our preparation time to die to temptation and sin in Jesus’ crucifixion and death on Good Friday. Then we will be ready to be raised to new life in Christ in His glorious Resurrection on Easter.

Today’s Gospel tells us of Jesus’ temptations by Satan following His preparation for His public ministry after 40 days and nights of fasting in the dessert. Satan first started tempting human beings with Eve in the Garden of Eden. He tempted her to eat from the forbidden tree with the promise that “the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.” The god that the Satan speaks of is not our heavenly Father, but himself. Satan considers himself to be a god to be worshiped, and he says exactly that to Jesus in today’s Gospel.

After two failed temptations, Satan promises to give the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, if only He would “prostrate yourself and worship me.” However, what was Jesus’ reply? “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Jesus did not succumb to Satan’s temptations as Adam and Eve did.

Jesus is the strength we need to call upon this Lent to help us transform ourselves from falling to Satan’s temptations of doing what he convinces us to do, we want in this life, instead of doing what God wants for us, that is, doing His will to gain everlasting life.

Jesus was tempted three times and resisted all of them. During Jesus’ Passion, Peter was tempted to deny Him three times, and fell to all of them. In our human weakness, will we always be successful in resisting Satan’s temptations? Probably not, so Jesus has given us the Sacrament of Reconciliation to restore in us the ability to resist Satan’s temptations. Then we can turn back to God and do His will for us. Then we will always have the strength of Jesus to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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