The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent, sets before us the narrative of Jesus’ temptations in the desert. The devil seeks to divert Jesus from the Father’s plan, that is, from the way of sacrifice, the love that offers itself in expiation. He offers him instead an easier path, one of success and power. The duel between Jesus and Satan takes place through strong quotations from Sacred Scripture. The devil, to divert Jesus from the way of the cross, tries to set before him false messianic hopes:
1) Easy economy. A Messiah that provides economic well-being, indicated by the ability to turn stones into bread. This reminds us of the temptation to become rich through no effort at all, instead seizing hold of goods destined for all, to use only for “my own self.” That is, taking “bread” earned by the toil of others, or even at the expense of their very lives. That is the bread that a corrupt family, or society, gives its children.
2) Vanity. To be a “celebrity style” Messiah by pursuing the futile chasing of those fifteen minutes of fame. Satan proposes to Jesus the idea of throwing himself off the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem, to be saved by angels. This will provide him with Celebrity exposure
3) Power. A quick, easy shortcut to power and dominion in exchange for an act of adoration to Satan. Betraying your own nature, identity and dignity in pursuit of quick power.
As humans, we are continually bombarded with these three temptations. Evil tries to corrode, destroy and extinguish the joy and freshness of doing God’s will within us. These temptations lock us into a cycle of destruction and sin. Jesus decisively rejects all these temptations. He reiterates his firm resolve to follow the path set by the Father, without any kind of compromise with sin or worldly logic. Jesus overcomes temptation by refusing to enter into dialogue with Satan. Instead, Jesus chooses to take refuge in the Word of God and responds with the power of God’s Word. For this reason, it is important for us to know Scripture, because otherwise we do not know how to combat the snares of the Evil One. Lent is the appropriate time for us all to make a journey of conversion. Let us renew the promises of our Baptism. Let us renounce Satan and all his works and seductions, in order to follow the path of God and arrive at Easter in the joy of the Spirit. (based on Pope Francis reflections of the 9/03/2014; 14/02/2016)