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Bishop Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Gospel/Homily

  • Liturgical day: Sunday 1st (C) of Lent

    Gospel text (Lk 4,1-13): Jesus was now full of Holy Spirit. As He returned from the Jordan, the Spirit led him into the desert where He was tempted by the devil for forty days. He did not eat anything during that time, and in the end He was hungry. The devil then said to him, «If you are son of God, tell this stone to turn into bread». But Jesus answered, «Scripture says: ‘People cannot live on bread alone’».

    Then the devil took him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the nations of the world. And he said to Jesus, «I can give you power over all the nations and their wealth will be yours, for power and wealth have been delivered to me and I give them to whom I wish. All this will be yours provided you worship me». But Jesus replied, «Scripture says: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him alone’».

    Then the devil took him up to Jerusalem and set him on the highest wall of the Temple; and he said, «If you are son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘God will order his angels to take care of you’ and again: ‘They will hold you in their hands, lest you hurt your foot on the stones’». But Jesus replied, «It is written: ‘You shall not challenge the Lord your God’». When the devil had exhausted every way of tempting Jesus he left him, to return another time.

    «The Spirit led him into the desert where He was tempted by the devil»

    Fr. Josep LAPLANA OSB Monk of Montserrat
    (Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

    Today, we see that Jesus, «full of Holy Spirit» (Lk 4:1), was led by the Spirit into the desert, far from men, to be able to immediately experience his total dependency upon the Father. In the end Jesus feels hungry and this moment of weakness is taken advantage of by the devil, who tries to tempt him with food to destroy the very nucleus of the identity of Jesus as the Son of God: his substantial and unconditional adhesion to the Father. And, today, our eyes cast upon Christ, victorious over evil, we feel stimulated to go deep into our preparation for Lent. We are pushed by a desire for authenticity: to fully be what we actually are: Jesus' disciples and, with him, sons of God. This is why we wish to get deeper and deeper in our profound adhesion to Jesus Christ and to his program of life, which is the Gospel: «People cannot live on bread alone» (Lk 4:4).

    As Jesus in the desert, armed with the wisdom of the Scriptures, we are called to proclaim to our consumer world that man has been designed on a divine scale and he can only satisfy his thirst of felicity when he opens wide the doors of his life to Jesus Christ, Redeemer of man. This implies to overcome many temptations that want to belittle our human-divine vocation. With the example and strength of Jesus, tempted in the desert by Satan, we will unmask the many lies about man that, systematically, are spread by the social media of the pagan environment where we live in.

    Saint Benedict dedicates chapter 49 of his Rule to “Observance of Lent” and exhorts us to «wash away during these holy days all the negligences of other times, (...), and give ourselves up to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence. (...) Thus everyone of his own will may offer God with joy of the Holy Spirit something above the measure required of him. (...) and with the joy of spiritual desire he may look forward to holy Easter».