First Sunday of Lent

Sunday March 10, 2019
First Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 24

Reading from the Gospel according to Luke
Lk 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered him,
"It is written, One does not live on bread alone."
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
"I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve."
Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.

Salesian Sunday Reflection

First Sunday of Lent

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent reminds us that when we are tempted with selfish desires we must keep focused on God’s way of love as exemplified in Jesus. Here are a few of St. Francis de Sales’ thoughts on loving God first, then doing what we desire.

Jesus was tempted in order to teach us that we will always have to choose between good and evil during our entire life. While Jesus tells us that the life of a Christian is a continual rejecting of evilness, and a constant choosing of God’s truth and goodness, He also urges us to walk in the way of love as God’s most dear children. When we live to do God’s will nothing can harm us, for we are armed with faith in God. God’s love becomes the source of all of our desires.  

Yet even in our desire to do God’s will, our selfish motives can infect our thinking. Many people who counted on their own strength to work marvels for God failed when under fire, while those who found their strength in God’s help accomplished wonders. We may feel that we do not have the strength to resist our selfish desires.  We ought not to be afraid of our weaknesses.  Since we desire to belong entirely to God, we must rely on the strength of God, who never fails us in the midst of our weaknesses.  

 While we must have a firm and habitual resolution never to willfully commit any imperfection, we must not be astonished if we do. At such times we must confide ourselves to the goodness of God, who does not love us less. Very gently place your heart back into the hands of Our Lord, asking God to heal your heart. Then set yourself once again on the path of virtue, practicing the virtue that opposes your selfish desire.

As we grow in holiness, knowledge of our faults disturbs us more. When we find ourselves not the saints we hoped to be, we are very discouraged in the pursuit of real virtue. Do not hurry on so fast. Begin to live well your life in light of your duties of state. Perfection consists in doing the little we do in our vocation, in love, by love, and for love. Trust God. When it pleases God to do so, God will make all your desires holy.

(Adapted from J. Power & W. Wright, Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal; L. Fiorelli, ed. Sermons)