First Sunday of Lent A
A young man struggling over lustful thoughts and desires approached his Lolo and asked: “At what age do you think temptations of the flesh stop?” The grandfather who was 81 years old confidently replied: “Don’t worry my son, at 80, all of these will disappear… almost automatically!” Even before the grandson could turn his back, a young and sexy lady crossed the street and the old man’s eyes were glued to the crossing beauty. Still gazing at the lady, he called his grandson back and said, “My son, maybe you can add some years more… all these temptations will disappear when you reach the age of 99.”
The point is that nobody is exempted from temptations. Even Christ himself was tempted. The saints were tempted but the difference is that in the face of all temptations, they hold on to God and chose to do good rather than evil. The young and the old, priests are even tempted. It is part of being human. Temptations will always be around—anywhere you go…. anytime. Temptations will only cease when you are already six feet below the ground. But the fact is that we can always run away from temptations… we can always overcome them just as much as the Lord and the saints did during their lifetime.
Let me remind you that to be tempted is not a sin. Christ himself was tempted but He did not commit a sin. It is when you give in to temptation when you commit a sin.
May kaibahan ang TINUTUKSO sa NAGPAPATUKSO. Ang TINUTUKSO ay hindi nagkakasala….. samantalang ang NAGPAPATUKSO ay nagkakasala. Ang sinasabi ni Imelda Papin sa kanyang awitin ay “TUKSO LAYUAN MO AKO.” Sa totoo lang, ito ay may pagkukulang. Ang wasto ay AKO ANG LALAYO SA TUKSO!
2 attitudes towards temptations:
- We can run away from temptations, or,
- We can run after temptations – meaning to say, we are the ones looking and running after temptations….. in that way we are making Satan jobless.
— When you are face to face with temptation, look for the way out that God has promised and then run as fast as you can.
The three temptations of Jesus in the desert are our own temptations:
Just as the demon attacked Jesus in three areas, expect also that the devil will launch his attack against us along these three areas:
- Bread—after forty days of fasting, it could have been very enticing for the Lord to look for bread. While we may not hunger for bread, but how often are we tempted by the LURES of wealth, power and comfort.
- We are not tempted to throw ourselves into the rocks. But how often are we tempted to throw ourselves onto the rocks of self-pity, worry, anger, resentment, jealousy? These are temptations that can easily crash our spirits.
- Finally, most of us would draw back at the thought of bowing to Satan. Yet how easy it is for us to bow before the gods of CAREER, PRESTIGE, SEX, MONEY, POWER and the like believing that all these will give us total fulfillment.
Are we really totally helplessness in these areas of temptations? I guess not. Today, Jesus gives us the consolation that no matter how strong the temptation is, as long as we put our trust in the Lord, we can always overcome them. As long as we are clear with our intention to do the will of God we can win with Christ and the saints. Life should be a constant struggle against the forces of evil.
St. Ignatius of Loyola would present to us three images of the strategy of the devil:
- The devil is like a woman—a is weak when the enemy is strong; but strong when the enemy is weak. And the devil is like that, too.
- The devil is like a general of an army—he looks for the weakness of the enemy and put force where the enemy is weak.
- The devil is like a false lover—the false lover always wants things to be in secret. Sin thrives in secrecy. The devil keeps the whole affair in secret for a long time and later brings out the secret to the public.
Be alert because Satan is so astute… he will always present evil as something good, as something harmless… but in reality, they are deadly. He says Your God wants you to be MISERABLE …. BUT I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY! But in reality, what you enjoy 20 minutes of pleasure would be equal to suffering in hell for eternity.
The temptations offered by the devil were an easy way out (examples- money easy by corruption, gambling, gratification by drugs, abortion) … BUT Jesus followed the HARD WAY.
He could have done something sensational – simply perform a miracle and the people would have followed him easily. BUT He chose the WAY of the CROSS.
So watch and pray for the devil is like a ROARING LION LOOKING ALWAYS FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR. When you are face to face with temptation, look for the way out that God has promised and then run as fast as you can and turn to God.