1989 Feb 12 – 1st Sun Lent (Bulletin Letters)
Lk 4, 1 – 13
THE REAL TEMPTATIONS: Last summer there was a big uproar over the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Many people found the movie portrayal of Jesus having a sexual temptation as grossly inappropriate. The movie showed Jesus ‘ greatest temptation as being one of want for human love and want of a family. The manner in which it was expressed on film and the great protest that followed should tell us more about our own times obsession with sex than any actual struggle that Jesus was confronting in his own time. In today’ s Gospel from Luke we read about the real temptations of Jesus. These temptations of Jesus in the desert follow his baptism. On the Jordan, Jesus heard his Father’s voice saying, “Thou art my Son,” now in the desert Jesus hears another voice, “If you are the Son of God”. Jesus must decide whether or not it comes from the same source.
All temptation is to do what is attractive. The subtlest and strongest temptation is to do what appears to be good. Jesus is a man with a mission. He feels himself called to liberate the oppressed and establish the reign of justice and peace. The three temptations put forth by the devi1 play into this self under-standing of Jesus. The first temptation is to allow the good to usurp the place of the best. The second is to seek God’s ends by means alien to God’s character and the third temptation is to force God’s hand by taking short cuts to success.
Each of these three temptations attacked Jesus not at a, point of weakness but at his greatest strength—his compassion, his commitment, his faith. In each he recognized that he was dealing not with God ‘s will but with the devil’s ways.
Luke tells us that the devil departed from Jesus for the time being. Jesus had won an initial victory, but these same temptations were to reoccur throughout his ministry. What are your reoccurring temptations? Do they play on your weaknesses or your strengths? Those that play to our weaknesses are easy to name but those that play to our strengths are not so easy. They are the subtler and therefore the more dangerous.
NOW IS THE TIME! Sr. Therese started her Ash Wednesday homilies to us with the theme, “Now Is The Time!” So don’t let the many Lenten opportunities pass you by. There are Lenten devotions each week in each parish. There are opportunities for weekday masses. There are four Adult Education programs scheduled and there will be two major retreats: one for men only and the other one led by Sr. Joyce Rupp. There will be a Communal Penance Service in each parish plus I will schedule a couple of Saturday afternoons for private confessions. Times, places and dates are all in your bulletins. Don’t let this Lenten Season pass you by – – NOW IS THE TIME!