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Sunday, February 25, 2007

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First Sunday of Lent

Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Romans 10:8-13
Psalm 91
Luke 4:1-13

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Jesus "was tempted by the devil." —Luke 4:2

Notice how Jesus dispatches the devil and his temptations:

  • Jesus never engages Satan in dialogue. He does not allow evil to converse with Him. Three times, He simply speaks the truth and ends the conversation.
  • Jesus uses Scripture to defeat each temptation.
  • Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Lk 4:1). The Holy Spirit fights against the evil spirit (Gal 5:17).
  • Jesus was engaged in prayer and fasting (Lk 4:2), which overcome the devil (Mt 17:21, NAB).
  • Jesus understood that He was God's beloved Son (Lk 3:22). He knew His father would provide all His needs.

The devil "is a liar and is the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). When he tempts us, he makes promises, which he has no intention of keeping (see Lk 4:6). His promises are lies. Giving into temptation will not make things easier or more pleasurable for us, because Satan does not bring pleasure but rather destruction and guilt. Adam and Eve's tragic mistake was to engage the devil in conversation. They listened to his deceptions, then considered them, then tragically embraced them (Gn 3:1ff).

The only answer to the evil one and his temptations is that of Jesus: "Get behind Me, Satan" (Mt 16:23, JB). We immediately rebuke temptation and listen only to God. Therefore, abide in God's word (Jn 8:31), treasure it (Lk 2:19), and keep it in your heart to defeat temptation (Ps 119:11).

Prayer:  Father, fill me with the Holy Spirit. May I hunger and thirst only for You.

Promise:  "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." —Rm 10:9

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who died to set the captives free (Lk 4:18).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006

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