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The Temptation in the Desert

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert to be tempted by the Devil. He fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and afterwards was famished. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Mat. 4:1-3

Dear Family in Christ,

The readings for the first Sunday of Lent present us with two different accounts of temptation: the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, and the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Our second reading from Romans establishes a bridge that connects them: ‘Therefore just as (Adam’s) trespass led to condemnation for all people, so (Jesus’) act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all people.’

There is a theory among some biblical scholars that the desert to which Jesus was led is the exact geographical location of what was once the Garden of Eden; the effect of sin and death turned what was once a lush paradise into a harsh wasteland.Whether this is true or not, it highlights the fact that Jesus came not simply to give us a good example or to be 'nice'. He came to go to war with Sin, Death, and their author(Satan), and redeem by His own victory over temptation what was lost when Adam fell to temptation.

During Lent, the Church calls us into the 'desert’ by way of fasting, in order to unite our hearts to Jesus in the desert. Anyone who takes this call seriously will undoubtedly face temptation. Why does God allow temptation? Why was Adam tempted, why was Jesus tempted, and why are we tempted? I’ll let someone wiser than me answer that.

There is a law written across the universe, that no one shall be crowned unless he has first struggled. No halo of merit rests suspended over those who do not fight. Icebergs that float in the cold streams of the north do not command our respectful attention, just for being icebergs; but if they were to float in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream without dissolving, they would command awe and wonderment. They might even be said to have character, if they did it on purpose.

The only way one can ever prove love is by making an act of choice; mere words are not enough. Hence, the original trial given to man has been given again to all men; even the angels have passed through a trial. Ice deserves no credit for being cold, nor fire for being hot; it is only those who have the possibility of choice that can be praised for their acts. It is through temptation and its strain that the depths of character are revealed.

-Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ

Yours in the desert,

Father Daniel

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