On this First Sunday of Lent, the Gospel of St Mark speaks of Jesus being led into
the desert by the Holy Spirit, tempted by Satan and assisted by the angels. Let us
pray that our Lenten journey will strengthen us in the struggle against all forms of
temptation. Let us invoke them frequently, so that they may sustain us in our
commitment to follow Jesus to the point of identifying with him ...
1st Sunday of Lent
As today's Gospel suggests (Mk 1,12-15), during the 40 days of Lent, believers are called to follow Christ in the "desert" to confront and with him defeat the spirit of evil. This is an interior struggle, on which the concrete direction of life depends. In fact, it is from the human heart that evil designs and actions arise (cf. Mk 7,21). For this reason, it is only by purifying the conscience that the path to justice and peace can be prepared on the personal and social level.
In the present international context, there is a much stronger need to purify the conscience and convert the heart to true peace. In this regard, how much more eloquent is the image of Christ who exposes and overcomes the lies of Satan with the force of truth contained in the Word of God. In the inner heart of every person the voice of God and the insidious voice of the Evil One can be heard. The latter seeks to deceive the human person, seducing him with the prospect of false goods, to lead him away from the real good that consists precisely in fulfilling the divine will. But humble and confident prayer, reinforced by fasting, allows one to overcome even the harshest trials, and instills the necessary courage to combat evil with good. Thus Lent becomes a profitable time of spiritual training. (Saint Pope John Paul II)
The temptation story summarizes the entire struggle of Jesus: it is about the nature of his mission, but at the same time it is also about the right ordering of human life, about the way to be human, about the way of history. Finally, it is about what is really important in the life of man. This ultimate thing, this decisive thing, is the primacy of God. The germ of all temptation is setting God aside, so that he seems to be a secondary concern when compared with all the urgent priorities of our lives. To consider ourselves, the needs and desires of the moment to be more important than he is - that is the temptation that always besets us. For in doing so we deny God his divinity, and we make ourselves, or rather, the powers that threaten us, into our god. (Pope Benedict XVI)
Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert: help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The study of the sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer. It is essential that the revealed
word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith.
.... while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal reading. We do not blindly seek God,
or wait for him to speak to us first, for “God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us”.
Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word.