March 6, Temptations: a Sunday Scriptures blog

We begin our six Sundays of Lent with Luke’s Gospel account of Jesus’ temptations in the desert. Mark’s short Gospel, written around 70 C.E. (Christian Era), only says that Jesus was tempted. But about 15 years later, Luke and Matthew expanded Mark’s account by describing three different temptations of Jesus in their Gospels. By doing that, they were teaching us that sin does not just happen: Sin begins with temptation that taps into something within us. The three temptations of Jesus are temptations we all face. We all want to satisfy our appetites — whether with “bread” (material things) as in the first temptation, or with another of the many things we enjoy. We also all want power, as in the second temptation, if not power over “all the kingdoms of the world,” at least power over our own little kingdoms: our workplaces, our families, our little projects and plans, in the groups we belong to. The third temptation seems a little harder to understand. Jesus is told to throw himself off a height so God would rescue him. But of course if he had done that, Jesus would have gotten acclaim or “glory.” We all have the tendency to “show off.” We brag or tell stories that call attention to our own importance and gifts, wanting others to admire us. We sometimes claim more credit than is due us and often forget to give credit to God for our successes. And we have other temptations, too, in addition to these three. The Lenten season invites us to look not only at our sins but at the temptations we deal with, to become aware of them so that we are not caught off guard, and so that even in little ways fail to live the discipleship lives we want to live. Perhaps spend some time this week meditating not on your sins but on your temptations!

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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