Sunday, February 21, 2010

The real score of temptations

First Sunday of Lent, cycle C
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Photo courtesy of Cris Cook

Temptations may be blessings in disguise. They eventually test the quality of our faith and lead us to perfection. There are three levels of temptation and how we can rise above them.

First: the temptation to wealth - the goal is to subdue our cravings to satisfy our senses and put order into material things. "Not only on bread does man live but on every word the comes from the mouth of God." Poverty should help us realize that despite the things that give us comfort, it is only God who gives us true life.

Second: the temptation to power - the mountain is a symbol of the meeting place between God and man. But when man plays around with power, then he starts to corrupt himself, making him insensitive to the powerless and oppressed. "God alone shall you adore" was Jesus' response to the lure of power. God alone must we serve. A way to counteract our insatiable desire for power is to place ourselves at the service of everyone else, most specially the poor.

Finally, the temptation to serve oneself - Pride. The last test is man challenging the very power of God as if he were at par with Him. "You shall not test the Lord your God." Utmost humility and oblation are effective weapons to the temptation to put oneself at the center of things.

The result should be a life that denounces itself of the things of this world and commits itself unreservedly to the service and adoration of the Divine Majesty. Life for many is obtained, not death.

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