Every first Sunday of Lent we hear of Our Lord's temptation in the desert, close to the beginning of our own forty-day journey.
Jesus was led into the desert for an express purpose: "to be tempted by the devil." God permits temptation for a greater good. Temptation is a battleground where we can exercise virtue and rely more firmly on Him.
In the first temptation, the devil tells Jesus to turn a stone into bread—a temptation for power. However, Jesus reminds us that we were created for more than our bodily desires: We are body and soul. Is my heart focused on earthly goods, or do I remember that I am created for eternal happiness?
Then the devil, showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, proclaims,
"I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me."
This world belongs to the devil. Am I in the world, but not of it?
Last, the devil dares Jesus to throw Himself off the temple in Jerusalem—a temptation to show His glory as the Son of God. The devil has the audacity to quote the Word of God to the Word Himself. The devil also knows Scripture . . . and recognizes the power of it.
Jesus counters the devil each time by quoting Scripture. It is likewise so important for us to commit the Word of God to memory, to treasure it in our heart, and to bring it to our defense when we are tempted.
The devil presents temptations dealing with kingdoms, power, and glory, but these do not ultimately belong to him. At Mass, we proclaim, “For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever.” May we glorify God in all that we do today!
How well do I know Scripture? Do I read the Word of God daily, committing it to memory, and reflecting on it in my heart?
Lord, come to our defense when we face temptation. You have conquered the devil—strengthen us in our own spiritual battles and help us to glorify You in all of our thoughts, words, and actions today.