Temptations of Jesus
The story of the forbidden fruit is the prototype of all temptation. The devil is the father of lies and deception. The most successful deception is the half-truth which is like the tasty bait used to lure the fish. The devil begins by planting a doubt in the minds of Adam and Eve. “Did God really say you were not to eat of any of the trees in the garden?” Then he shows the attractiveness of the fruit, “enticing to look at and good to eat”. Their senses are attracted to the bait. Then the deception. “No, you will not die. This is the tree giving the knowledge of good and evil. Your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods with the knowledge of good and evil”. The temptation is to take God’s place, having moral autonomy. I can make my own rules. Their eyes were indeed opened, not only to good, but now also to evil.
We begin Lent every year with the story of Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He entered into total solidarity with us, even to being tempted, but showing us how to defeat temptation. His three answers to the devil’s promptings can guide us.
“One does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
“You must not put the Lord your God to the test.”
“Be gone Satan. You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”
Lent is a time to take a good, honest look at ourselves. What should we give up and what can we take on?
Give up any harmful behaviour. Where do you compromise on your ideals? Where are you half-hearted or settling for the minimum. If you are addicted to any of the i-gadgets … iPhone, iPad, iPod … why not give yourself the gift of one day each week as a Digital Detox Day? It might become an I-opener in your life!
Take on more time for prayer or good reading. Do something to raise funds for some charitable organization.
May the Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness for forty days be your guide this Lent.
Br Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.