Jesus let the devil tempt him just as we are tempted, though he did not sin. Hence, he can feel for us who are weak, and lift us up.
James makes clear that God does not tempt us. We are tempted by our own evil desire.
Today’s first reading and gospel, though, suggest that the devil prowls around and looks for those whom to tempt. And he is Satan, that is to say, the adversary. He accuses us day and night before God
And it seems the devil likes to tempt more the “souls who are trying to serve God.” “All those who try to live a holy life” (SV.EN IX:539-540). In turn, those whom the devil does not fail to tempt are to resist him in the same way as Jesus.
Yes, we should not give in to the temptations of the one who puts stumbling blocks before us. For Satan seeks no more than to take us away from what God wants. And to make us think and act as we please.
Beware of the one who can tempt us without our knowing it.
No, it does not cross our minds to turn stones into bread. But there are many of us who use God as a means to have a fill of what we need. Do we not worry too much about what we need and even about what may lead to a life of ease? Do we help those who are poor and have the religion and living faith of those who live by God’s word? Rather, do we not cry for help and whine? “My room, my books, my Mass” (SV.EN XI:190).
And far be it from us to tempt God and risk our life just to boast that we are his chosen ones. Still and all, since we act out of human respect, we do not wholly give glory to God (SV.EN XI:52-53). Hence, we end up using God as a tool to attain fame.
Of course, we expressly refuse also to exchange worship of God for worship of money. Yet we have to admit, too, that it is for a reason that we are warned about the danger of wealth. For, indeed, “abundant possessions can fog over a person’s feel for God, and feed an illusion of some level of equality with the Divine.” And how easy for us to go against Phil 2, 3 and think we are more godly, more like God, than others.
And, yes, God wants those he created in his image to be like him. But in the same way as Jesus, through whose obedience we get to be just. He turned lowly, so God lifted him above all. He served, and gave up his body and shed his blood, so God raised him from the dead. Hence, we confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” to the glory of God the Father.
Lord Jesus, let not the Adversary, who cannot but tempt us, lure and entice us.
26 February 2023
First Sunday of Lent (A)
Gen 2, 7-9; 3, 1-7; Rom 5, 12-19; Mt 4, 1-11