Lent - a season of grace…
The first Sunday of Lent starts with forty days of Jesus' fasting and his battle with the tempter, the devil. The number forty is an important number in the Bible. It rained for forty days and nights while Noah and company were in the ark (Genesis 7:1-23).
In the Book of Exodus 34:28, we read, “Moses was there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten words.” IKing chapter 19, we read that Elijah traveled forty days in the wilderness.
In the Gospel, we read today, the temptation of Jesus. If we look at the life of Jesus, it is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. In the Book of Exodus, Moses led Israelites through the Red Sea and wandered in the desert, and was tempted for forty years before they reached the Promised Land. The new Moses: Jesus, after the Baptism and led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. The Israelites fall in the temptations, but Jesus brings victory over the temptation.
In the desert, the devil tries to tempt Jesus by quoting the Bible passage. On the other hand, Jesus faces the temptations by quoting Bible passages. Each time Jesus says, it is written…if we look at those Words we can see them in Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 8. These two chapters of Deuteronomy give us the Word of God while Israelites were in the desert.
In the desert, Jesus was hungry, and the first temptation: the devil tempts Jesus to use his power for himself. Jesus defeated the tempter by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy 8:3, “...so you might know that it is not by bread alone that people live…” God was telling Israelites in this passage about his love and care for them.
Then the devil tells, if Jesus worships the devil, he can have all glory and power. Again Jesus quest from Deuteronomy 6:13 and tells that one should serve God alone.
Then the tempter asked Jesus to throw him down and let Father send angels to rescue him. Are we tempted to pray to God something like this? Jesus’ answer to this temptation is Deuteronomy 16:16, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Pope Francis in his message for the Lent reminds us that “Do not grow tired of doing good.” ‘Lent invites us to conversion,’ Pope Francis wrote, ‘to a change in mindset, so that life’s truth and beauty may be found not so much in possessing as in giving, not so much in accumulating as in sharing and sowing goodness.’ During Lent let us ask God for the grace to turn away from the tempter.
The essence of evil is a turning away from God. Our mind has the tendency to run away from God. Lent is time to give up our head and give in to our heart. We need to set aside our mind for some time to be with God and sowing the goodness.