Homily First Sunday of Lent Year A 2020

By 11:19 AM

Homily First Sunday of Lent Year A 2020

Reading 1: We are on a journey: the journey is a pilgrimage, the journey is to the celebration of the remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He died to save us from the eternal death of sin. The focus is not sin but what Jesus did in order to free us from the eternal effects of separation from God.

In this first reading we see the difference between a test and a temptation. God tests us in order to bring us into a fuller embracing of our relationship with him as a creature dependent on the Creator.  The test: not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The Devil tempts us to separate us from God, as he is separated from God. The temptation is not to trust God, not to be dependent upon God. You can be equal with God knowing all things.

The question that divides a test from a temptation is will we embrace God’s will as our good or will we embrace our will as our good, regardless what God says.

Adam and Eve chose their will over God’s. The consequences of their choice were they saw themselves naked and full of guilt, they hid themselves reflecting their separation from God and they accused each other. Where before there was a harmony between God, them and the rest of creation, now there was disharmony and disunion.

Temptation: if you are the Son of God, don’t wait upon God to satisfy you. Perform a miracle and satisfy your appetite. Jesus’ response I will depend on God to provide for me. Miracles are not to satisfy self but to minister to others.  The temptation recalls the hunger of the Israelites in the desert when they rejected the bread God offered them. Rebuking Satan, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3: “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Unlike the Israelites who argued with God about the bread he provided for them, Jesus acquiesces to be fed and sustained by the living bread of God’s Word.

Temptation: if you are the Son of God put God to a test, for he will truly save you if you are his son. Jesus doesn’t fall for the temptation of presumption. He knows the truth and exposes the lie used by the Devil. Again he relies on the Word of God. “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test as you did at Massah” (Deut 6:16).

Temptation: the desire for power and possessions, the sin of greed and superiority.  Satan tempts Jesus to change his allegiance from God to him.  The sin of idolatry. Jesus has his priorities in order. “The Lord, your God shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”

Jesus responds to every temptation with the scriptures. St Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Like Jesus, we too are tested by Satan to abuse and misuse the gifts God has given us. We too are tempted to forget our true identity as beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Lent is a time to turn away from the sins that separate us from God, to reclaim or deepen our identity as the adopted son or daughter of our Heavenly Father and to embrace the tests but resist the temptations.

Reading 2:  Paul in his Letter to the Romans, considers and compares the above two temptation events, and tells us in what manner their results and consequences affect our lives today.
Paul reminds us that there is a law of sin in the world and in us. But God in his great mercy has sent his Son to destroy the eternal consequence of sin, namely eternal alienation from God and to give us the gift of grace to confront the Devil’s temptations.

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