Tested and Victorious
Feb. 10 — First Sunday of Lent
Readings: Gn 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Rom 5:12-19 or 5-12, 17-19/Mt 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Mt 4:1
When we think of Jesus' trials on earth as unlike our own, we make two grave mistakes: We sell His incarnation short, and we let ourselves off the hook.
Jesus became flesh just as we are flesh — with all its inherent strengths and weaknesses. And just as we are tempted, He "has similarly been tested in every way" (Heb 4:15). Indeed, in the desert, His humanity is on display. We may think of Jesus as a "miracle worker" and above it all, yet we encounter a man famished, vulnerable, and fighting the elements in an unfriendly place.
The point is, being the Son of God didn't mean resisting temptation was easy for Him. He is victorious against Satan not through miracles, but by employing the very tools at our own disposal when confronted by temptation. He shows us how to fend off Satan by relying on His faith in God the Father and the knowledge of who He is in relation to God.
As Scripture tells us, Jesus is like us, except for sin. No sooner was He baptized and His identity proclaimed than Jesus confronts and overcomes Satan's temptations. He thereby not only defines His loving relationship to God, but fully illustrates what it means to depend unconditionally upon God and to be obedient to Him.
As we seek to fend off temptation, we need to remember the implication of our own baptism where our relationship to God was defined. We were called to repay God's love for us and put Him above all worldly desires. No longer are we to be shaped or swayed by the desires we had in ignorance. Instead, "as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct" (1 Pet 1:15).
During these 40 days of Lent, we unite ourselves to the mystery of Jesus in the desert and are called to follow His exemplary lead.
Holy Lord, give us the fortitude to overcome temptation such as You did. Help us to please Your Father the way You did. May we always remain faithful children of God. Amen.
Diary of St. Faustina