This Sunday’s readings can be found here.
The first reading was, Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7 – The fall of man; Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent.
Psalm 51 – Be merciful, Oh Lord, for we have sinned.
Romans 5:12-19 – St. Paul relating the connection between Adam and Jesus; sin and death came into the world through one man, Adam, and is also saved from sin and death by One Man, Jesus.
Matthew 4:1-11 – The tempting of Jesus by Satan in the desert.
Father began his homily by talking about what it means to “obey.” To obey means “to listen,” or “to hear.” We are called to be obedient to the Father, to listen to Him. The evil one seeks to distract, to confuse, to keep us from listening to the Father.
If we go through the three temptations that Satan puts to Jesus, first he questions Jesus’ identity – “IF you are the Son of God . . . “. Then he attacks Jesus on a physical level, suggesting that He turn the stones into bread. Jesus responds with scripture, “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Taking up the “Scripture Game,” as Father put it, the devil then uses Scripture to tempt Jesus a second time, suggesting that if Jesus throws Himself down from the parapet, “He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus responds with, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” (This also shows us how Scripture can, and so often is, twisted and taken out of context in an effort to make it conform to what someone wishes it to say.) Finally, the devil tempts Jesus with power. The devil, after having convinced Adam and Eve to fall, feels that all he needs to do is get Jesus to fall and then he can be in control of the whole world forever. So, he takes a gamble by offering Jesus the entire world, if only He will bow down to him, but Jesus has had enough and sends Satan away.
Through this entire exchange, we see Jesus listening to the Father, obeying Him, through Scripture. He is the contrast to Adam and Eve. Where they did not listen, did not obey, Jesus does. St. Paul refers to the fall of man as a “happy fault.” It is because they fell that we needed a Savior. God sending His only Son into the world to die, reveals for us a God Who is merciful, loving, cares for us, and truly understands us.
It is tempting to see God’s laws as over-burdensome. When the devil asks Eve what God said about the fruit, she says God told them they would die if they even touched the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. We know, and the devil knew, that God did not mean a physical death, but the devil uses this to trick Eve. He twists the truth and convinces them that God was being too harsh, thus convincing them to fall.
Finally, Father encourages us to take time this Lent, and always, to pray. Set time apart in our day and just listen – listen to God speak to us through Scripture, through stories of the Saints, or just in our hearts as we sit quietly with the One Who loves us perfectly. In the Bible we hear God command us at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him,” and at the wedding at Cana, Mary tells us, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus went into the desert in order to cut Himself off from the noise and chaos of the world. We should try to do the same – cut away all that is extra in our lives, all that stops us from really listening to God.
Have a blessed week!
Deo Juvante, Jen