March 10, 2019
First Sunday in Lent
DT 26:4-10 PS 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 ROM 10:8-13 LK 4:1-13
“He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him,…”
Satan is smart. Wicked smart. He knows the precise to strike with temptation – when we are at our weakest. Jesus was at the nadir of his human weakness after fasting in the desert for forty days, and that was when Satan tempted him with fame, riches, glory, and power. The easy way out.
Except there is no “easy way out” when it comes to following God’s will. That’s because there is no easy way in to Heaven. Yes, St Paul told the Romans “For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” And the second reading concludes with “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But we still gotta believe, and we still gotta confess. Not just once, either. And how many among us have called upon the name of the Lord when things were easy? Not nearly as many as those who were in dire straits at the time, I bet.
Whenever Satan tempts us, we must call on Jesus to save us from falling into sin. We can’t do it on our own. We need to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” as Jesus was. We need to recognize our own powerlessness in the face of stronger powers and principalities. Relying on our own strength is the moment of our biggest weakness, and that is when Satan presses his advantage.
Today is the first Sunday of Lent – if we feel we’ve “failed” at Lent because we either dropped the ball in our penances, or neglected our prayer regimen – now isn’t the time to despair! Satan doesn’t want you to have a good Lent. He despises it when we seek holiness, and strive to follow Christ. Succumbing to the small temptations at the beginning of the Lenten journey is not a sign of failure if we call on the name of the Lord to set our feet back on the path. It’s only a failure if we believe the lies Satan whispers to us in our moments of weakness. Christ is our strength – confess it, every single day, and Satan will depart from us for a time.