Collect: Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.
And so we officially reach the first week of Lent.
This year’s Gospel reading is from Jesus’s temptation in the desert. Lent’s 40 days is from Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert. One of the reasons why we fast is because our Lord fasted as well, and we try to model our lives after Christ’s.
One of the intriguing lines of the Gospel is when it says that Jesus was tempted by the devil. What does this mean to us, when it says God was tempted?
Without getting into a deep discussion about Christology, we as Catholics believe in what is called the hypostatic union, which is that Jesus was fully God and fully human, and both of those natures unified in one existence. This means that Jesus was exactly like we are, except for sin. Jesus’s humanity is what our humanity would have been without sin.
Temptation is not sin; acting on our temptations is where the sin is. We are always surrounded by temptation, but that does not mean we have to succumb to sin.
We protect ourselves from temptation through the continued blessings of fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. These three are the trinity of actions we can do to avoid sin.
And at its pinnacle, by praying the life of the Church and loving others as Christ loved us, we can avoid sin and be at peace.
In the end however, it is hard, but that is why we are blessed with the Sacraments. God does not ask us to do; he asks us to try. It is in the efforts of our faith and in our seeking of forgiveness that we can experience that vastness of God’s love.
And so let us pray that we can try to live how Christ lived. And when we fail, let us seek his forgiveness and keep on going. May we gain the strength to fight temptation.
Have a blessed Lent.