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Same old tricks

First Sunday of Lent

March 6, 2022 •

Jesus is lead into the desert by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted by the Devil. . . .

There's an important theological element that we must recognize. You see, Jesus is overturning the sin of Adam and Eve. That's the whole purpose of His coming not the world and His suffering, death and resurrection. He's undoing what the first sin did.

It's not surprising if you listen closely to the Gospel, that Satan is tempting Jesus in pretty much the exact same way in which he tempted Adam and Eve.

The Fathers of the Church teach us that when Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan in the Garden with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the book of Genesis tells us that there were three things that tempted them.

When Eve took the fruit, she saw that it was good for food, it was pleasing to the eyes, and it was desirable for making one wise.

The Fathers call these three things: Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes, and Pride of Life. They say that all sins - all categories of sin - fall into these three.

It was "good for food." That's the lust of the flesh. . . . when you cannot control your physical appetites, that is a sin of lust. Whether those appetites are hunger for food, desire for sleep or sex, all of these physical appetites; undisciplined, unmastered, uncontrolled are lusts of the flesh.

In Jesus' first temptation, what does the Devil say to Him? . . . The Devil is smart - he's not going to come to us when everything is going well, he comes to us when we're weakest.

So Jesus has been fasting for forty days and the Devil waits until Jesus is really hungry to come to Him and says, "If you are the Son of God, . . ." A very interesting intro. Jesus knows He is the Son of God. Yet here is the Devil trying to put a doubt into Jesus' mind, a question: Prove to me that you're the Son of God.

It's the same thing he did with Adam and Eve. "Did God really tell you not to eat of fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?" "Well. yes He did." It's a simple answer.

Here's Satan. Same tactics. Thousands and thousands of years have passed since Adam and Eve, he's pulling all the same tricks. "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Obviously, Jesus is the Son of God and could turn the stone to bread. It's no big deal for Him. So what's the temptation? . . . . Satan is trying to tempt Him with the lust of His flesh. He was very, very hungry. He clearly needed food. Satan was trying to get Jesus to use His power for such a weak and earthly need.

Our Lord responds, "It is written: One does not live on bread alone." If you know the rest of it, it is, "One does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes forth from the mouth of God." It is the Word of God - Jesus Christ Himself - Who is the Bread of Life.

Father continues and shows us each temptation of Adam and Eve, its counterpart with Jesus in the desert, and His response to turn that temptation aside..

In all of these instances, Jesus uses the Scriptures to defend Himself against these temptations, and He does this to teach us all a very important lesson: the Word of God is our defense.

When we are being tempted in any way by Satan, the better we know the holy Scriptures, the better we defend ourselves against temptation and the less we fall into sin. . . . When you're going into spiritual battle with Satan, you want the best weapon you can have to combat his temptations. . . . .

These temptations, that we all have in our lives, are tests that God wants us to endure. It's only when you're tested that you can improve and grow.

Dt 26:4-1; Ps 91:1-2, 10-15; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13

Homily begins at 20:40

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