Our Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Lent shows Jesus doing two things. First, he is tempted by Satan in the desert. Second, he begins his mission of proclaiming the Gospel message. Isn’t it consoling to know that Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, also endured temptations?
Oftentimes the devil tempts us into thinking that, because we have fallen prey to temptations, God does not love us. He tells us that we are not worthy of God's love and should just give up trying to follow the narrow road of the Cross. In response to the lies of the devil, however, Jesus reminds us that He was also tempted, He also suffered at the hands of men, He also was rejected, He also was ignored, and ultimately, He gave up His own life for us in the timeless sacrifice of the Cross. The fact that Jesus was tempted and suffered on earth encourages us to continue following him. And how do we follow him? We listen to and live out His words, "Repent, and believe in the Gospel."
Jesus asks us to repent of all the sins we have committed and all the temptations that we have given into, and to return to Him in love. We cannot return to Him, however, unless we develop a relationship with Him. That relationship begins with prayer. Without prayer, we cannot hear Jesus telling us to repent, we cannot hear Him consoling us in times of trials, we cannot feel Him strengthening us against temptations. St. Paul tells us, "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5:16-18)."
If we learn to pray constantly, with the help of God, we can overcome temptations and remain always in the friendship of God. Let us strive to develop a deeper prayer life this Lenten season, a prayer life which will sustain us in all circumstances in life.
"The Lord will conceal you with his pinions, and under his wings you will trust (Ps 91(90):4)."
-Communion Antiphon, 1st Sunday of Lent.
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