March 10 - Jesus is Tempted
Mar 9, 2019
Scriptures: If you have been following this blog, you probably have already noted that our faith is based on relationship with God. In the first reading we see that the Jews are being reminded that God first helped them to become a nation, then he freed them from slavery and oppression, and finally led them to the promised land. The reciprocation of which would be impossible for the Jew. However, the Lord does not require of them equal reciprocity, rather he asks them to give back to Him the "First Fruits" of their labor. In other words, give the Lord the best of what you have to prove that you love Him above all else. Just after his baptism, Jesus walks away from everything to go into the wilderness and pray. There he is met by Satan who tempts him. Each temptation questions Jesus' identity directly, "If you are the Son of God..." Thee first temptation challenges Jesus to abandon his own humanity to satisfy his hunger. "Why be like a pathetic human that suffers hunger pains, just turn these stones to bread." If Jesus did that, then our Lord would not have shared true human life with us, rather, he would have been a part-time human at best. The second temptation is to sabotage Jesus' mission. The devil offers him a way to join all of humanity with God without having to mount the cross. The price, would be that Jesus has to worship Satan. Jesus refuses to break the First Commandment (imagine if he did) which lead him to the cross where he suffered to redeem the world. At his baptism, the heavens opened up and the Father declared to Jesus and everyone else, that he WAS the son of God and that everyone should listen to him. The last temptation sows Jesus was great doubt and challenges Him to make God prove it by saving him. This in some way would be the same as the first temptation, it would ask Jesus to embrace divinity over humanity.
Core Faith Principle: We are all tempted to sin and every sin is a way to take us away from a perfect and unitive relationship with God. We are told that God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our strength (God will never force us to sin). However, we do sin. Sometimes we fight the temptation and end up giving in for one reason or another. Other times we can fight off our temptations. The best practice to avoiding sin when being tempted is the following: Do the HALT assessment - Is my resolve weakened because I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. If it is, try to remedy that. Second, sin is trying to take you away from relationship with God, so you can do the exact opposite, start to pray. Explain your temptation and ask for God's help (ask the Lord to let the temptation pass). Finally, you may simply try to change your environment, distract yourself with something else, or proactively avoid the near occasion of sin (don't want to be tempted to drink, stay out of the bar).
Living this at Home: Today's living this at home message is very simple, the best way to renew and restore your strength to safeguard against sin and reengage in holy living is to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation. There are plenty of online resources both to prepare for reconciliation and how to make a good Sacrament. You've sinned, your children have sinned, go together so that your whole family can receive mercy together. We are defined by our dignity as children of God, made in God's image, not by our sins. Though our sins violate the unity we have with God, we can never be perfect, but we can perfectly handle our imperfection. That is, we can let God continually fix what we break and resolve to do better.