Liturgy: First Sunday in Lent - The Temptation in the Desert

March 08, 2019
Source: District of the USA

Immediately after His baptism, our Lord began to prepare for His public life by a fast of forty days in the mountainous desert which stretches between Jericho and the mountains of Judea.

It was there that He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether the son of Mary was in reality the Son of God (Gospel).

As in the case of Adam, he addresses his first attack to the senses. Our Lord is hungry and the tempter suggests to Him that He should turn stones into bread. In the same way he tries, during these forty days, to make us give up our fasting and mortification. This is the concupiscence of the flesh.

The devil had promised our first parent that he should be as God. Now he takes our Lord to the pinnacle of the Temple and tries to induce Him to let Himself be carried by the angels through the air amidst the applause of the crowds below. Satan tempts us by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and meditation on God's word. This is the pride of life.

Finally, just as he had promised Adam a knowledge which like that of God Himself, should enable him to know all things, so Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him ruler over all created things if He will fall at his feet and worship him. In the same way the devil seeks to attach us to temporal goods, when we ought, by alms and works of charity, to be doing good to our neighbor. This is the concupiscence of the eyes or avarice.

In this "acceptable time" and in these "days of salvation" let us purify ourselves with the Church (Collect), "in fastings, in chastity," by zeal in hearing and meditating on the word of God and by charity unfeigned (Epistle).