Homily for the first Sunday of Lent - Year A - Mt. 4:1-11
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, «If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.» But he answered, «It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Deut. 8:3)»
 
" Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, «If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, "He will give his angels charge of you," and "On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." (Ps. 90:11-12)» Jesus said to him, «Again it is written, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Deut. 6:16)»
 
" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, «All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.» Then Jesus said to him, «Begone, Satan! for it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve." (Deut. 6:13)»
 
" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him. "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. "
 
Saint Paul said to us: "Be led by the Spirit." (Gal. 5:16 ; cf. Rom. 8:14) Therein is all of our Christian life! It is the very life of Jesus, though the Savior of men lived this life to an extent that will never be given to us to live. Nevertheless, it is our model, and the life of Jesus must be imitated as perfectly as possible. If Jesus was tempted by the devil, under the guidance of the Spirit, then we, his Body, his Church, we too must be tempted in turn...
 
If we are truly led by the Spirit, then, at the moment of temptation, we will notice the presence of the devil, who prowls around us, seeking someone to devour... (cf. 1 Peter 5:8) At that moment, whether it is we who are tempted, or someone else, such as one of our acquaintances, we must be able to say to ourselves: "The devil is near!" But, if we are guided by the Spirit, let us not be afraid: Jesus conquered the devil, and we too will conquer him!
 
" And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, «If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.» But he answered, «It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Deut. 8:3)» "
 
The devil will tempt Jesus in three ways, each of which concerns goods, whether spiritual or material, interior or exterior, that we possess or can possess. So, first, Jesus is tempted in his body, which is the material good that each one of us necessarily possesses and cannot get rid of. Like any material good, our body can be used well or badly. Here we must remain in the just mean. For example, we must eat to live, and not live to eat, as the saying goes. All of our senses must be under the control of the spirit, which in turn is guided by the Spirit of God.
 
It is very important to dominate our body. For, as has just been said, it is a material good we cannot get rid of: whether we want to or not, we possess a material body. This is why the devil considers it the first point to attack. But as the devil is a pure spirit, who doesn't have a body, our own body can be our first source of strength. At least it can be if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, who will teach us to use our body well, with a view to the Resurrection in the Lord...
 
By every means, the devil will seek to turn our body away from its true use, which is the Glory of God. First of all, the very beauty of our body annoys him: he would like to destroy it, for example, by persuading illustrators to invent extra-terrestrial species with deformed heads, hideous-looking humanoids that are supposedly more intelligent than we are. On the other hand, the devil seeks to exalt our body, to excess, but still in order to destroy it. Without speaking of pornography, let us mention above all today's favorite themes: the equality of the sexes (whereas man and woman are complimentary - which means that one brings to the other what the other lacks), which leads straight to homosexuality, which is a crime and a sin against nature.
 
" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him. "
 
I will not speak this time of the second and third temptations of the Lord. I direct the reader to my previous homilies ( 1999  2002 ). In conclusion, let us have great confidence in Divine Providence, which watches over us, through the Holy Spirit, and the angels, which are his servants. May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary accompany us throughout this Lent, a privileged time of the year, which leads us to the Resurrection in Christ!
 

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