Lent is here again! Today’s Gospel from Luke is the familiar story of how Jesus is tempted by the devil. Luke took the very short version of Jesus’ temptations found in Mark’s earlier Gospel and expanded it to teach his Gospel listeners. Mark’s Gospel just says Jesus was tempted; Luke elaborates three distinctive temptations that spiritual writers tell us we all face. We all want to satisfy our appetites — whether for “bread” as in this temptation, or for sex or other kinds of pleasures. We all want power, if not over “all the kingdoms of the world,” at least over our own little kingdoms, our workplaces, our families, our friendship groups. And we all have the tendency to “show off.” We might not be tempted to throw ourselves off the temple parapet, but sometimes we claim more credit than is due us, we brag, and in other ways we call attention to our own importance and invite adulation by others. Temptations are not sins. This Gospel shows Jesus’ humanness; he had the same temptations that we have, and will have until we die. But this Gospel also shows us how the human Jesus used his faith to throw off the temptations. The Lenten season invites us to look not only at our sins but at the temptations we deal with. Jesus fasted for 40 days, and so he was spiritually aware and ready to throw off his temptations. Becoming aware of temptations helps us not to be caught off guard. And like Jesus, we have special powers from our faith to reassure us that we can be strong in the face of temptation.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia