First Sunday of Lent (A)

They had lost their innocence. The first effects of their sin were that their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. Of course I am speaking about Adam and Eve in the account of the Original Sin.  Adam and Eve could no longer be comfortable with themselves. They ate from tree of knowledge of good and evil, and now they had knowledge of evil. In Scripture to know means to experience. Adam and Eve had an experience of evil. It was horrible. They were exposed, vulnerable, full of shame, full of guilt. Their choice of sin was a turning away from the Lord of Life. They chose that which is not life. They chose death. And all mankind suffered the result of their choice. All people would suffer from sin and the result of sin, death[1].

We experience this every day of our lives, as good people, innocent people, die. We experience this as our children are assaulted by the media, by the immoral aspects of society, by all who would take advantage of them.  But, St. Paul tells the Romans and us, just as sin and death came into the world through the actions of one man, Adam, grace and life has come into the world through the actions of another, Jesus Christ. And what Christ has brought into the world, His Grace, is infinitely more powerful than the hideous power of sin.

Jesus first demonstrated His power over evil when He defeated the devil and the diabolical temptations after His forty days in the desert.  We can see the beginning petitions of the Lord’s Prayer in Jesus’ response to the devil. Jesus would seek His bread from God, not from the world; and He taught us also to pray to God for our daily bread.  Jesus would seek the will of God and not impose His will upon His Father. 

We are all tempted to sin. That is part of life. But we can fight against sin. We can defeat temptation. In some ways we all experience each of the temptations that the devil put before the Lord.  The devil wanted Jesus to trust in His own power, rather than the Father.  He wanted him to change rocks into bread. We also are tempted to trust in ourselves instead of trust in God.
We cannot fall for the temptation to think that we can do everything ourselves. We have to trust in God. We have to have faith.  Yes, we must do our best to provide for our future that of our loved ones, but, ultimately, we rely on the Lord to take care of us. We can resist the temptation to push God out of our lives. This call to faith is not always that easy.  In fact, it is usually quite difficult.  It is quite difficult to spend so much time and energy on a person, for example a child, or on a situation, for example a career, and then trust the future to God rather than to ourselves. It is tempting to think that we do not need God.  We cannot survive without God. We cannot be happy without Him.  And we cannot live forever without Him.

Like Jesus, we can fight the temptation to be bought by the world. There are many people who have sold their souls for wealth and power.  The devil tempts us to join those who do evil, tune down or turn off our consciences, and reap wealth beyond our imaginations. 

This morning we ask the Lord today to protect us from the temptations of the world, lead us not into temptation, and to deliver us from evil, the evil one, and the evil within us.  And we trust in God for we know that we are loved; for we have been purchased, and at what a price![2]



[1] First Sunday of Lent A, March 9, 2014.Readings: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Responsorial Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11.
[2] Cfr. 1 Cor 6:20

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris