The “desert,” that’s where we find Jesus on the first Sunday of Lent (Luke 4:1-13). Each of the 3 synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) show our Lord fasting and then being tempted by Satan. Satan is very clever, for he knows our weaknesses and the best time to exploit our weaknesses. He tempts Jesus when he is physically weak from fasting. Satan knows that we have sensual appetites for food, drink, and sex which are good in moderation and when used properly. He knows that we desire earthly goods like cell phones, automobiles, clothes, etc. And he knows that we want to be independent and self-sufficient. Those are good things to want as long as they don’t get in the way of our relationship with God. St. John describes these temptations when he says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16).
Our Lord’s entry into the desert and fasting did not make him weak, but instead strengthened him to stand up against the devil. May our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (donations to the poor) enable us to resist temptation when it comes our way.
- Father Carl