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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Mar 1, 2009)
Readings: Gn 9:8-15; 1 Pet 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15
... He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. Mk 1:12
On this first Sunday of Lent, St. Mark's Gospel serves as a helpful reminder that our Lenten journey won't always be a walk in the park. Today we hear that our Lord ventured into a wasteland for 40 days, and dealt with the deceitful enticements of Satan.
However, we don't have to take leave of our everyday life to face the tests of the enemy. No, if we have decided to be a follower of Jesus Christ, we can be assured that Satan is not pleased. He never tires of tempting us to waver from the commands of the Lord. Contrary to popular opinion, there is a devil. And a hell.
As Catholic Christians, we are to be mindful of these spiritual realities, but not fearful. In today's Gospel, we hear that it was the Spirit who sent Jesus out into the desert, and that there were angels present who waited on Him. So we see that Jesus was not alone when facing Satan. And we are not alone either, when we find ourselves in a spiritual wasteland toe-to-toe with the Devil's empty promises and lies.
As we go through our day, let's take notice of the moments when we tend to be tempted to depart from the ways of the Lord. It may be the temptation to watch an inappropriate television show, or gossip about a co-worker. Perhaps we might be tempted to entertain negative thoughts about people while we're at church.
Whatever temptations we are trying to overcome, we shouldn't try to do it alone. Let's turn to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we do, let's allow God to comfort and strengthen us as we strive to grow in virtue.
Lord Jesus, help me in the large and small battles I face every day. Keep me close to You and far from the enemy. Amen.