On the First Sunday of Lent, we read of the Temptation of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (4:1-13). The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the Judean desert to fast and be tempted for 40 days. In this way, Our Lord experienced the plight of those He came to save, wandering in the wilderness of sin, and left unsatisfied because of a lack of goodness there.
But despite the devil’s offers of satisfaction and earthly power, Jesus remains faithful to God and to His ministry. He came not for His own sake, but for ours, and He has always kept His promises to us. He is still with us today.
And so, as we participate in the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, look to Jesus’ example in the desert. He endured challenges and hardships for a purpose—that is, for love of God and neighbor. Let that be our purpose this Lent. Like Jesus, may we offer ourselves up in order to bring God’s love to the world around us.
The Catechism teaches us:
540 Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent, the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the deserts. – Chris Brooks