The Temptation of Christ
Oil on Canvas
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Preparing for the Mass March 9, 2014
The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. The first four days of March fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. The remainder of the month falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.
First Sunday of Lent
Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and this Sunday's liturgy can be found here and a children's liturgy can be found here.
First Sunday of Lent
Matthew 4: 1-11
In this brief passage Matthew captures the essence of the trials Jesus would endure and over which he would triumph throughout his life.
The tempter urges Jesus to turn stones into loaves of bread. Jesus rejects the temptation to reduce his divine mission to satisfying immediate, temporal needs. The tempter then suggests that Jesus prove he is really the Son of God by jumping off the parapet of the temple: God would send his angels to save him. Jesus rejects the temptation to put God to a test. Finally, Jesus rejects the temptation to idolatry, even if that worship would enrich and empower him with all kingdoms of the world.
1st Sunday of Lent: Temptation
They had lost their innocence. The first effects of their sin was that their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked. Of course I am speaking about Adam and Eve in the account of the Original Sin. Adam and Eve could no longer be comfortable with themselves. They ate from tree of knowledge of good and evil, and now they had knowledge of evil. In Scripture to know means to experience. Adam and Eve had an experience of evil. It was horrible. They were exposed, vulnerable, full of shame, full of guilt. Their choice of sin was a turning away from the Lord of Life. They chose that which is not life. They chose death. And all mankind suffered the result of their choice. All people would suffer from sin and the result of sin, death. ...more
The Temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert
The Temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert is our meditation on the first Sunday of Lent. The purple color of Lent symbolizes penance, but it hints at more that that -- as we remember how the first Adam failed the test and succumbed to temptation, we rejoice that Jesus Christ, the New Adam, triumphed over the deceiver and celebrate that we, sons and daughters of the same heavenly Father, can also win the battle against temptation and deception and be free....more
Grow in Holiness This Lent
The Church provides the faithful with a marvelous opportunity and a distinctive journey for spiritual growth and conversion during the penitential season of Lent. Pope John Paul II said, "The time of Lent is a special time for purification and penance, as to allow Our Savior to make us his neighbor and save us by his love" ("Message of His Holiness John Paul II for Lent," 1982).
Pope Benedict XVI reminded us what Lent is for: "It means accompanying Jesus as he travels to Jerusalem, the place where the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection is to be fulfilled" (Wednesday audience, March 9, 2011).
Beginning (Lent) with the Four Last Things
Traditional Catholic theology has distinguished the “Four Last Things” : Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. We are admonished to meditate upon these things frequently. We WILL die, be judged, and spend eternity either in Hell, or in Heaven (likely after some time in purgatory).
Beginning with the end, or starting with the last things, is paradoxically, a good place for Lent to commence.
Journey with Jesus through “Meditations for Lent”
I do not want to meet Jesus on my deathbed. I want him to already be close so that death is something we do together, just as in life.
Jesus told us to strive to enter eternity by the narrow door (Luke 13:24). That directive can leave us fearful. Is our life leading us to the narrow door? How do we get there?
“But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). We want to be fit for the kingdom; to enter through the narrow door. Pope Francis knows that way. For Lent this year, he encourages us to let go of the plow. He chose the theme: “He became poor so, that by his poverty you might become rich.”
Paul in Arabia: From Messenger of Satan to Ambassador for Christ
I went into Arabia (Gal 1:17b). To Arabia, but to what part? To Mount Sinai, to the Red Sea, and to the city of Petra, a tour of salvation history, for God through his grace equipped Paul to be the Ambassador for Christ.
To prepare himself, Paul spent forty days and forty nights in the desert in imitation of the Lord, and of his people, the Israelites, who God purified during their forty-year wandering in the Desert of Sin as he led them through the wilderness to Sinai, the mountain of grace. To Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus by the will of God, Sinai was a mountain in Arabia (Gal 4:25), the site where God handed down to his people through the prophet Moses the Decalogue, the Word of God intended to form the spirit of a nation through which the Messiah would enter the world.
Hidden Harmonies in the Gospels
It’s obvious that the four Gospels agree on the main facts about Jesus’ life:
- He lived in first century Palestine.
- He travelled through Galilee and Judea.
- He worked miracles.
- He taught.
- He was crucified in Jerusalem at the time of Passover during the
administration of Pontius Pilate.
- He rose from the dead.
- And so on.
All that’s obvious....more
This great quote from St Ambrose bears deeper reflection; “Stronger than the person who conquers the strongest fortresses, is the one who conquers himself; nor is there any greater height of virtue.”
“Conquering self,” what is that all about?