Prepared to Proclaim

First Sunday of Lent (C)

During one of our discussions in a Theology class in college on the topic of vice and virtue, one student asked, “Brother, Jesus was also tempted during his lifetime, right? But I think he was able to resist the temptations from the devil because he was God.” This question from the student made me think and pause for a while. Looking at his face which was seemingly asking for a response from me, I addressed him, “He was able to resist the insinuations of the evil one since he fasted and made penances in the desert which strengthened him to say ‘no’! He was able to go beyond whatever was physical and of this world, because he did not live by them for forty days.” The student looked enlightened and smiled after hearing my point.

St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians wrote, “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human in appearance…” (Phi 2:6-7 NAB). With this declaration from Saint Paul he acknowledged that our Lord Jesus took on our humanity in order to be one with us. This is the heart of the mystery of the Incarnation: God became man to be united with us in all things, except sin, in order to raise up our dignity and reunite us to the Father. Jesus, in his humanity, was tempted like us. He was able to resist the temptations not only because he was the Son of God (though he can declare this to the devil), but he lived out what man ought to be, as originally planned by God: “to seek Him, to know Him and love Him with all his strength” (CCC 1). He was in solidarity with our being human as he faced these challenges. This tells us that we, too, can overcome temptation through fasting, penance and the grace of God. Man has the capacity to go beyond himself and on the things of this world as our Lord Jesus has shown us. He has exemplified to us how to be truly and fully human according to the mind of God.

The forty days that Jesus spent in the desert was meant to prepare him for the mission ahead. At the beginning of the Gospel it was said that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, after His baptism and was led by the Spirit to the desert in order to be tempted. During His baptism, a voice from heaven was heard, “This is my beloved Son.” In the wilderness, this proclamation from the Father to Him was being put to the test. The devil also used this identity of Jesus in order to put forward his test for him, “If you are the Son of God, do this and that…” The devil knew who Jesus was and tested His identity, His being the Son of God. As soon as he had passed the test, he was ready to preach to the world. Jesus made a personal option for God in the desert, before fulfilling his mission, which is to proclaim the kingdom of God and call everyone to conversion. He who has known, experienced, and triumphed over temptation, has proven his fidelity to God. Because his fidelity had been demonstrated, he could proclaim the coming of God to his people. In this way, Jesus became an evangelizer who was able to demand conversion.

Brothers and sisters, we too are sons and daughters of God in the Lord Jesus by virtue of our baptism. In moments of temptations, we can also call on the Lord who Himself was tested and tempted. During this time of Lent, as we have begun the days of renewed prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, let us look upon our Lord as example and hope. When we are tempted let us remember that temptation is not a trap for the wicked, but a moment of opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to renew our fidelity in God by putting our trust in His providence. Let us draw courage from seeing Jesus, the Son of God who faced temptation alone in the desert for forty days. Anyone who has endured temptation and been converted are also called to preach conversion to others. The Christian who comes back to God stays with Him and brings along others to the loving embrace of God. He goes out to the world, as Jesus did. Our witness is the proof of our conversion.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us

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