YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: BETWEEN TEMPTATION AND TRIAL
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
HOMILY: First reading: Deut 26: 4-10
Second reading: Rom 10:8-13
Gospel: Lk 4:1-13
I have tried to find out that some of our native languages have same word for both TEMPTATION and TRIAL. Be that as it may, they are not the same both in objective and agent. The purpose of TEMPTATION is joy expected in failure, while the purpose of TRIAL is joy expected in standing firm. God tries us, while Satan tempts us. God is happy when we pass. Satan is happy when we fail. God and Satan cannot be doing the same thing in our lives. Why Satan confuses many is that he often tries to present himself as a friend when he is the worst enemy. This calls for wisdom. There is no gain-saying that the Devil is very wise too, so tricky and intelligent. In Gen. 3:1, the serpent (representing the devil) was described as the most subtle of the entire beast created by God. He would not tempt you with something he knows you do not need. He rarely wastes blows in the air. He aims at not missing his target.
The gospel of today tells us that Jesus was tempted by Satan. If we recall the story of Jesus’ temptations by the devil briefly, we can rest our point. The first which was to turn a stone into bread was well set because Jesus was hungry after the fasting. In Matthew’s account, it was stated that “He fasted for forty days and forty nights, after which He was hungry – Matt. 4:2. It is not as if it was hard for Jesus to turn a stone into bread. It was still the same Jesus who, in Jn 2:1-11, changed water into wine. It was the same Jesus who, in Mk. 6:41, fed the five thousand with only five loaves and two fish. The devil will not tempt you with something which will appear difficult to you. The fact remains that it takes a deep sense of vigilance to know the voice speaking to you.
This beginning of this year’s Lenten season, we have been called for a resolution to turn away from our evil deeds in order to obtain God’s Mercy.
But while we are making this resolution, it is important to know that Satan is also making his own plans. The person who is trying to avoid drunkenness should not be surprised to see much free drinks come his way.
The person resolving to avoid fornication should not be surprised to have that man, that girl, that woman he/she had tried so much to woo, now freely at his/her disposal even with promises of marriage and material things. The business man/woman resolving to avoid lies and cheats may begin to see very promising strategies where he/she only needs to say yes where he should otherwise say no and vice versa.
The admonition of St Peter is real here – Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy, the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat – 11 Pt. 5:8. We must obtain God’s mercy within this season of Mercy. God help us.
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