HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: SUCCUMBING TO TEMPTATION.
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula.
(Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11)
We live in a world of temptations and a world of sin. Due to our human weakness, we fail to respect our relationship with our God because we succumb to temptation. Jesus’ response to temptation teaches us something important. His presence in the desert tells us that it is possible to be in an environment of temptation and to be tempted but without succumbing. Today we are invited to experience the world as it is because it is only in this world that we can live and experience life. But we are further invited to transform it and take it back to the paradise it was before by demonstrating a life well lived, a life of quality, a life that honours God.
Temptations come from the devil. He brings them in different ways. And his intention is always to pull us to himself by abandoning God. This is what we see in the first reading when Adam and Eve give into the temptation of Satan, hence, distancing themselves from their Creator. Just as Satan does to these our first parents, so does he do to us by tempting us through the things that are most appealing to us. The devil knows that human eyes love to see glittery and attractive things. The forbidden fruit, therefore, can be anything that draws our attention but then also draws us away from God. The devil attracts us with such to win our hearts.
In the gospel, Satan’s triple temptation of Jesus reveals key ways in which he works. The devil tries to persuade us to use spiritual power or authority to benefit ourselves. For instance, people who serve in the church may be tempted to use their positions of trust to get their people to serve them instead of serving God or even enriching themselves. The devil also deceives us into worshipping idols instead of God; things like money, fame, possessions, status, political power, etc. When we embrace these elements as our ultimate source of happiness and satisfaction, we have dethroned God. We make ourselves strangers before God.
When the devil observes that Jesus is very hungry, he tempts him to turn stones into bread. Satan knows that we are most vulnerable when we are hungry. Because of hunger, a human being can start a church to benefit oneself. Hunger can make one lie or withhold the truth to keep their job. How many people have killed others due to hunger? Is it not because of hunger that some people begin to malign others at places of work to have a bigger share? Hunger can make one start worshipping a fellow human being as long as there is a benefit. Because of hunger, a human being can lose honour and integrity; it makes one develop an insatiable appetite for wealth, amassing it by all means possible. Hunger is a weak spot and Satan knows it. But Jesus does not succumb to this temptation even though at this point he is very hungry. There is something more important than food, namely, the Word that comes from God. We can look to him in times of temptation and receive from him an abundance of grace and strength to resist the devil.
From the second reading we are told that though sin came through one man (Adam), we have redemption through the sacrificial action of another man, Jesus Christ. His presence in our lives is a sure presence of the power to fight temptation. He saves us from our weaknesses and makes us stronger than the devil. Our Lenten observances can only make sense when we become aware of our ‘desert’ situation and realise that in this situation, we depend on God for everything. We shouldn’t trust ourselves too much. We are not enough to resist temptation. We need God.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
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