Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.
Today we hear from St. Luke’s account of Jesus’s Temptation in the Desert. In order to better appreciate this gospel, we go back to the account of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, after being delivered from slavery in Egypt. The three temptations that the Israelites experienced were 1) physical hunger, 2) lure of idolatry and 3) temptation to test God. These were the same temptations that Jesus experienced in today’s gospel. Jesus responds from the Book of Deuteronomy, the charter document of the Mosaic covenant. Jesus gives us the model of how to handle temptation when it comes. He remembers that God the Father is with Him. We too must remember that we are never alone in fighting temptation. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are with us. Just as Jesus states the promises of God to the devil, we too must know what God has promised us.
In today’s first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses is telling the Israelites to remember what God has done for them…how their nation grew as God promised, how God heard their cry for help when they were slaves in Egypt and how God gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites often forgot about God’s generosity to them in the past. Instead they complained about the present day problems. Notice how Moses makes their history personal, using the words “we” and “us”.
What happens to us when we forget what God has done for us and is doing for us now and what He promises to do for us in the future? We make ourselves more susceptible to succumbing to temptation.
What has God promised us? God loves me unconditionally. When I am sorrow for my sins, God forgives me when I seek Him in His mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God made my soul to be with Him forever. God gives me many gifts to help me on my journey to eternal life… the Sacraments, Sacred Scriptures, the Blessed Mother, the model and intercession of the saints, prayer and the opportunity to serve Him in the least of our brothers and sisters. May God grant us abundant graces through Mary, in times of temptation!
God bless all!