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1st Sunday of Lent C
The more I admired Jesus when I read and prepared for the Sunday gospel this week.  If I were famished and given the chance to “produce” bread, I would have readily made bread, rice meals, soups and everything my stomach craved for.  If I were penniless and suddenly offered the treasures of the world, there would be no second-thoughts on becoming the world’s richest man.  If I were a nobody now given the opportunity to become popular, I am sure I would not have backed out of the chance to dazzle the world.
I know my weakness.  How can I not be aware that I crave for pleasure, I dream of riches, I desire to be respected?  These temptations are universal, affecting men and women, young and old, rich and poor alike all around the world.  These temptations are in the DNA of humanity, and it runs in my blood too.
As a human being, Jesus too was assailed by these temptations.  But as God’s Son, conscious of his heart’s only desire to please his Father, Jesus did not please himself.  Every time the devil came with a new plan to trap him, Jesus repulsed him with great power and resolve not to fall into the temptation and not to enter into sin.
What was behind the Lord’s success against temptation?  What was the secret of his triumph over sin?  Not only that he was God in human flesh.  No, he did not make use of any of that power.  Rather, he was totally open to the Holy Spirit. His one companion after his baptism was the Spirit.  The one who led him to the desert was the Spirit and the power that overflowed in his life was the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:1,14).  With the Holy Spirit, Jesus was able to conquer the strong currents of temptation, leading the way for us too, to become victorious in our own struggles.
Isn’t the reason of our failure to resist temptation and our predictable fall into sin the fact that we often forget to call on the Spirit, to cling to him and to rely on his power to save us? When we are tempted we think we can do things on our own and we turn our backs on God who stands by us and gives us support.  Looking at the history of my own sins, I realize, that when tempted, I did not utilize this link with the Holy Spirit given to me by my heavenly Father.
This Lent, the Lord and his Church offer us the grace to be strong and victorious over sin.  There is no temptation too great for us. There is no sin too overpowering.  We can recover the Holy Spirit and have him in our hearts in our daily struggle to be faithful to God and to our neighbor.
This happens when we avail of the disciplines of Lent – prayer, fasting and almsgiving – but most especially, when we experience the grace of the sacrament of Reconciliation.  Confession gives us the grace to be new again and to be strong as we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  Will you approach the confessional again?
Like Jesus, let us desire to be filled with the Spirit of God who will deliver us from temptations and make us victors over sin.