The Lenten Temptations of Jesus … and Us

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

The first 3 words of the gospel for the 1st Sunday of Lent are “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1-13). Let’s begin our reflection with the reminder that we, too, are full of the Holy Spirit. During Lent, we are invited to travel with Jesus in the desert for 40 days. With Jesus, we take this time to die to self and prepare to arise with the Risen Lord.

The 3 temptations of Jesus – told in today’s gospel – are played out in our life.  We, too, are guided by the Holy Spirit.

Like Jesus, we are tempted to turn rocks into bread when we forget the importance of feeding our soul. Like Jesus, we can say, “One does not live on bread alone.”

Like Jesus, we are tempted “to possess power and glory, that all may be ours.” Such human power and glory pale in comparison to God’s love. Like Jesus, we can say, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him alone shall you serve.”

Finally, as Jesus was tempted to throw himself off a cliff to prove God’s protection of him, so we are tempted to beg for dramatic signs proving our concept of God’s protection of us. Like Jesus, we can say, “We will not put the Lord our God to the test.” We will trust in God.

Ways to respond to the Word:
1)    Write down our Lenten resolutions, reviewing them weekly, lest we forget our original fervor.
2)    Pray over the Gospel, imagining how Jesus looked, felt, and prayed to the Father.
3)    Ponder the words, “Filled with the Holy Spirit.” What do they mean to us?

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