HOMILY: 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A
Homily Theme: Temptation
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The Christian Life is a journey to our true homeland, to God, Who created us out of nothing and invited us to come to share in His life in eternity. This journey involves obstacles that come to us in varied ways and forms, but most especially in the form of temptations. These temptations come from the Evil one who is envious of the beautiful, noble and royal end that awaits us in God. He uses every means within his reach to make us lose this most glorious end with God. In Adam and Eve he succeeded but in Christ he was defeated woefully and the method to defeat him revealed to us. May we always be victorious in this daily fight against the devil and against all his plots; Amen.
Temptation is a reality that we live everyday! Ordinarily, to be tempted is to be enticed by something or to be lured by someone to act in a way that goes contrary to the will and commandments of God. It is a push to choose evil and avoid the good. To fall for temptation makes one a sinner and a loser; whereas to master temptation and overcome it makes one a saint and a hero. The Devil is the primary source of temptation even though we can become sources of temptation to each other and to ourselves. The common denominator of all forms of temptation is the goal to damage our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters, and also to disrobe us of our dignity. The object of temptation is always something deceptively good to the eyes and enticing to the appetites, but unfortunately, these things are fundamentally evil and destructive to the spiritual life. This deceptive semblance was the tactics the devil used to dethrone our first parents from their state of original grace and damaged their spiritual stance before God and the relationship they naturally had with Him. In the First Reading (Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7), Adam and Eve faced this reality, but unfortunately, they could not grasp the plot of the serpent; “the woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it.” This choice of Eve, and subsequently of Adam, became the undoing of their relationship with God and the delights placed in store for them as man and woman created in the image and likeness of God. In Adam and Eve, we see concretely the disfiguring effects of sin and of the greatest harm in the History of Salvation caused by the evil plot of the serpent. This ordinarily should inspire us to hate sin and to hate all the more the devil who constantly tempts us to sin; stimulating us to reject God and to choose the father of all lies.
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In Adam and Eve, the human race failed God woefully and disgraced Him before His adversary the devil. In Christ, humanity regains her glory and dignity and her power to live by grace and to defeat the devil in whichever way he comes. Christ is our Model! He is the one who defeated and continues to defeat the Devil in all of his tactics and deceptions. In the Second Reading (Romans 5:12-19), we read of the effects of His victory; “as Adam’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of Jesus Christ brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by Adam’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by Christ’s obedience many will be made righteous.” The lines of the Gospel Reading (Mt 4:1-11) present us the moment of the temptation of Jesus Christ and of His triumph over the devil. In these lines, we read the proper methodology to be victorious over the devil and to overcome temptation; “Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” The Devil will surely come to us because he is restlessly roaming about “like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (I Pt 5:8). In Christ Jesus the Emmanuel, we see and learn and receive the method through which we can succeed in our dealings with the devil. The sure step is always to be led by the Holy Spirit. To be led by the Spirit starts by cultivating friendship with Him and to insist and persist in doing good and avoiding evil. To be led by the Holy Spirit is to dissolve our wills and plans into His power and majesty and allow Him to take the lead. Being led by the Holy Spirit brings us the grace to properly discern the presence of the evil spirit. Certainly, the presence of holiness, which is the fruit of intimacy with the Holy Spirit, already marks the absence of sinfulness. Being led by the Holy Spirit empowers us to be victorious in our daily war against the devil and all his cohorts in the different ways they may come to us.
Lord, long and rough is the road of life and left alone we cannot make it. But with You and guided and led by the Holy Spirit we are sure to be victorious. May Your Spirit lead us through, to overcome the temptations that will come to us and to reach our true homeland in You; Amen.
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