First Sunday of Lent
The temptations in the desert
Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.'” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'”When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. Lk 4,1-13
The temptations to which, in the today passage, Jesus is exposed in the desert, depend upon the fact that he is son of God, consequently they regard every Christian, because son of God, and therefore they regard the entire Church. Before to put on record what these temptations were, we note that it is the Holy Spirit to conduct Jesus in the desert where he is tempted for forty days. The desert, where the Hebrew people went around for forty years before reaching the Promised Land, is the place of the temptations, of the providence and of the faith in God. The duration of forty days, which according to the Bible symbolism are the time of the completeness, means that the temptations of the today passage will last forever either in the Jesus life either in the time of the Church. In those forty days Jesus goes over the entire history of the mankind: he is tempted as Abraham was tempted by the beginning of the times and as Israel was during the forty years spent in the desert, but, different from them, he is the first man to win the allurements of Satan. The first temptation is related to the daily bread, of which the all of us need, therefore a collapse could be justified: “ If you are son of God, say to this stone to become bread”. Jesus, however, does not accept to use his divine power for his personal needs: the heavenly Father, who is the source of the providence, will take care of it. The second temptation is related to the power, the glory and, consequently, the wealth: “ I will give you all this power and the glory, because it has been given to me and I can give it to whoever I want. Then, If you will warship me, all of this will be yours”. Jesus answered: “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve'”. Jesus does not accept to warship and to live with these idols, which in the history have been the most powerful temptations of Satan. The third is related to the fact to trial God: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test”. God, being God, does not need to prove his existence to the men. It is good to ponder about these temptations, because the all of us we are exposed to them. Paul says to the Corinthians: “whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall” (1Cor 10,12). Then, he adds: “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1Cor 10,13). It is necessary, nevertheless, to be vigilant because Satan does not quit, he always returns: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time, up to the defined moment” , the moment of the cross. He well knows the mind of the man, who desires continually to exert his power on the nature and on the other men, obtaining glory and success. But this cannot be the project of the sons of God.