Into the Wilderness | iPray with the Gospel (1st Sunday of Lent)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”… Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.
It is always a great relief to see You, Lord, going through the same things we all have to go through. You were a perfect man, but you did not ‘cheat’: You suffered all that we suffered and much more. You even let yourself suffer temptations, just like us. You, Lord, are like us in all things except sin. You can exact nothing from human beings that You have not exacted from Yourself.
This is why, Jesus, it makes us so happy to see You overcoming the enemy. Because You are a Man and You have defeated the devil. When a football team is really good, people can start to think of it as unbeatable and everyone dreads having to play them. Until, one day, the invincible football team is defeated, and from then on, no one thinks they are invincible any more, for the once-dreaded enemy has been beaten; and so, they think… We can beat it too!
To try to overcome temptations without Your assistance, Lord, would be madness; it would be like a car trying to win a race with four flat tyres. As St Paul says: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31). Who could fight against us if we fight side by side with You, Lord? For You have overcome the devil, and now we know that You can beat him again and again, helping us when we go through temptation. We will never fear him; he should fear us, for we don’t fight on our own, but with You.
Mary, my Mother, I won’t fear temptation any more. But if you see me in times of trial and I forget to ask for help, please remind me to turn to your Son and ask Him to fight my battles with me; then, with your help, Mother, and the Grace of your Son, my struggle will be a battle like that of David and Goliath: I will be invincible, for Jesus is The Invincible One.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).