First Sunday in Lent

Originally the forty days of penance were counted from the eve of this Sunday to the hour of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday; then began the celebration of the Paschal mystery, to which the forty days were a preparation.

Our Lord also, after His baptism, began to prepare for His public life by a fast of forty days. He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether the son of Mary was in reality the Son of God (Gospel).

He addresses his first attack to the sense of hunger. In the same way he tries, during the forty days, to make us give up our fasting and mortification. This is the concupiscence of the flesh.

Secondly, the tempter tries to induce Jesus to let Himself be carried by the angels through the air. Satan tempts us by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and meditation on God’s word. This is the pride of life.

Finally, Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him ruler over all created things. In the same way the devil seeks to attach us to temporal goods, when we ought by almsgiving and works of charity to be helping our neighbors. This is the concupiscence of the eyes or avarice.

As we see, in the Gospel today, our Lord is tempted by the devil. Our Lord, having fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert, was hungry and alone. And in this moment of human frailty, the devil came along to tempt Him, coaxing Him to show off His Divine power. The Church by selecting this Gospel passage for the first Sunday of Lent shows once again her motherly concern for our spiritual welfare. During the last four days, since Lent began, we all have been tempted probably more than once to give up our good Lenten resolutions and fall back into sin or back into our usual spiritual mediocrity. Let us all, with the help of God, persevere and stay the course.

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