Homily for the first Sunday of Lent - Year C - Lk. 4:1-13
 
 
by
 
Father Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.
 
"The devil said to him, « If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. » And Jesus answered him, « It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.' »
 
"And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, « To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours. » And Jesus answered him, « It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.' »
 
"And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, « If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.' » And Jesus answered him, « It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' »
 
"And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time."
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry."
 
This past Wednesday, we began the season of Lent. On that day, we received the ashes that remind us of the dust and the earth that were used in the creation of the first man. These ashes are made with the palms that were blessed last year on Palm Sunday. That is, Lent begins with a ceremony that reminds us of the victory of Jesus, the triumph that was his own on that noteworthy day when thousands of Jews cheered him: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" Today also, the gospel begins by reminding us that Jesus, our Savior, he who goes before us, is full of the Holy Spirit when he goes to the desert, led by that same Spirit. Jesus, our model, is going to be tempted by the devil; but he carries the Spirit within him: he is not alone! We, too, are at the beginning of Lent, our time of trial; and the Spirit is also with us! He is there to help us in all our needs!
 
"The devil said to him, « If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. » And Jesus answered him, « It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.' »"
 
"Man shall not live by bread alone." Jesus knows it! And he knows it to the greatest degree! He knows all, because he is God. But he also said: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." (John 6:51) As a man, he knows therefore what this bread is: it is the sign of his own person as Son of God! Bread therefore calls to Jesus' mind his divine filiation. Also, when the devil tempts him to change a stone into bread, Jesus strongly rejects this because his thought turns at once toward his Father, he who gives him life. Jesus didn't live by bread alone: he lives first and foremost by the divine life of his Father who is in the heavens! "Man shall not live by bread alone."
 
"And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, « To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours. » And Jesus answered him, « It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.' »"
 
The devil is a deceiver! And he deceives himself the most! He believes he possesses all the wealth of the earth, because he thinks that all power on earth belongs to him. But Jesus is there! He is the Master of the universe! Since the Incarnation, through the "yes" of Mary his Mother, Jesus defeated and dominated the whole world! Let us read this text of the Council of Vatican II, which declares, quoting the Fathers of the Church: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith; ... death through Eve, life through Mary." (Constitution Lumen Gentium, no. 56, in fine) Yes, the devil deceives himself! Since his Incarnation, Christ is victorious, and he is going to confirm this victory through his sacrifice on the Cross! Soon, this victory over evil will be sealed in the Blood of Jesus, that of the New Covenant: the Covenant between God and man made at the Incarnation is going to receive all its perfection in the bloody sacrifice of Jesus on Mount Calvary!
 
"And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, « If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.' » And Jesus answered him, « It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' »"
 
The third temptation of the devil consists in proposing that Jesus show to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem his power and divinity. But Jesus knows that this is not the will of his Father, because his hour has not yet come. This hour will come when he will say: "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son ..." (John 17:1) Then, after he has suffered his Passion, people will say about Jesus, with the Roman centurion: "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Mt. 27:54) But the hour of Jesus has not yet come. So he answers the devil: "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."
 
May the example of Jesus be for us a powerful source of encouragement in our trials! May the Lord be always with us in order to win victory in us through his Holy Spirit! Let us receive the Eucharist on this day with a great faith, a firm hope, an ardent charity! Let us ask Mary to take us by the hand during this season of Lent! May she be our mother in this life and in eternity!
 

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