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Lent – Sunday 1

Watching the game show “Deal or No Deal” clearly illustrates to us the workings of temptations. A person is offered 100,000 pesos but is tempted to get much more. Staking everything on future unwise moves, he finally brings home 5 pesos. When you know how to stop and when to stop, everything will be okey. If not, you’re dead.

Everyone of us is enticed by a temptation or more in life. Every temptation is custom-made for us. It is suited and fitted to the kind of person we are and to the desires of our hearts. Temptations attack us where we are weakest. Some people are easily drawn to vices like gambling, drinking or illicit affairs. Others are prone to harbor ill-will and hatred against others. There are those who are just plain lazy in life. We find people whose life revolves around their own petty, closed, greedy selves.

The Gospel shows us the Lord Jesus suffering his own temptations. In his earthly life, the Son of God was tested in every way by the devil who sought to destroy the mission of spreading Good News. Notice something about Jesus? He was strong and resolute. He resisted every tactic and fought the devil with wisdom and deep faith.

Temptations are not totally wrong. They are natural for all creatures. But temptations are dangerous. Once you say ‘yes’, then it’s no longer temptation; you have fallen into sin and moved away from the Lord. How do we win over temptation? Let us look at the example of Jesus.

First, Jesus did not play games with the devil. He aborted temptation from the start by refusing to play along. Many times, this is our biggest fault. We know our weakness but we are over-confident that exposing ourselves to it will not harm us. So we start renting that porno dvd or visiting that website. We hang-out at the bar where we will surely be enticed to heavy drinking. There is a wisdom in the ancient spiritual advice to “avoid occasions of sin.” Do not underestimate temptation and do not overestimate your own power. Pull the temptation from the roots. Don’t play along.

Secondly, the Lord prayed. He called on God. Remember, he was in the desert with the Holy Spirit. He was there praying all the time before the temptations came. We feel weak against temptations because our prayer life too has been weak. How often do you pray? Do you really develop a relationship with God in prayer. The strength of Jesus came from his strong attachment to His Father.

Many of us are more attached to the television or the cell phone or the computer than to the Lord. Lent offers us the opportunity to grow in our faith through prayer and sacrifice. Let us start by asking God to train our hearts to resist the temptations that ruin our lives and the lives of the ones we love.