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First Sunday in Lent - Sr. Mary Owens

You shall worship and serve the Lord your God

This First Sunday in Lent, we are invited to reflect on Jesus beginning to fulfill God's will for him - the ultimate sacrifice of his life for us.

For a second time since he started his mission - the first being baptized like everyone else in the River Jordan- Jesus evidences his being human by allowing himself to be tempted by Satan.  As can happen with us, Satan uses a moment when Jesus is needy, 'he was hungry', to try to get Jesus to succumb to temptation: ...'command this stone to become bread’. Jesus' response is rooted in his faith: 'One does not live by bread alone'. What am I tempted to do when I am needy, when I have a financial difficulty, when faced with a family problem I am expected to solve, when stigmatized because of my medical condition? Am I tempted to compromise my integrity?  Am I tempted to depression, isolating myself rather than trusting in the Providence of God in my life?

Satan's second attempt to have Jesus give in to his ploys is by invoking the human desire to have possessions. All of us legitimately desire to possess what we need to live a full life and achieve our potential. The temptation is always there for 'the more'. Jesus models God's call to each of us to discern 'the enough' through keeping God as a priority in living. ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God and him alone shall you serve’.  In our consumer world which believes that the human is all-powerful and does not need God, am I tempted to satisfy my longing for the eternal through indulging in material possessions? Or do I live believing that ‘our hearts are restless until they rest in God'?

Satan's last strategy is to challenge Jesus to demonstrate the power he has as Son of God: 'throw yourself down from here', quoting Scripture in support of his challenge. Again, Jesus is faithful to his being incarnated as a human person and will not go against his Father's plan for him. ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’. Am I tempted to use my power to prove myself , or when challenged in my leadership and so disregard the dignity and rights of others? 

As we reflect on Jesus’ example in to-day’s gospel, may our faith be strengthened that God will be with us when we face temptations in our lives.

Sr Mary Owens, IBVM, director of Nyumbani Children’s Home; Children of God Relief Institute (COGRI), Nairobi, Kenya