Pop culture is awash with materials that deal with horror and is fascinated with the realm of darkness. Just look at the horror films that break box office records. Take a peak at the exorcist-type paperbacks that become best sellers and later are portrayed in the silver screen. The secular world tries to do away with matters of religion and spirit, and yet the crowds crave for the thrill of being entertained by the forces of the dark!

As we start Lent, we join Jesus in the desert. In Matthew gospel (Mt 4: 1-11), after Jesus is baptized, he was led by the Spirit into the desert to undergo temptation. The devil was in the desert waiting for his chance to disturb Jesus, to discourage him and to dislodge him from his principles.

Was the scene as theatrical as the movies portray the appearance of the devil to be? Were chairs and tables upturned, lights came out, and the hideous monster trailed the Lord in his otherwise peaceful retreat in prayer and fasting? Well, in this very crucial meeting of the Son of God and the devil, there was none of that! It was simply temptation after temptation after temptation. The devil could not touch nor defeat the Lord Jesus. He could only suggest seemingly harmless temptation.

In our life too, the force of evil does not come in a dramatic way. Rather, the devil trails us constantly offering temptations to become selfish, to become proud, to become separated from our God… and these, in simple and small things that we do or say.

Lent strengthens us and encourages us to stand up to the devil by defeating the daily temptations that come our way each day. We begin a season of sacrifices, also simple and small, like saying “no” to pleasure, and saying “yes” to service. We reflect again on our relationship with Jesus that is the meaning of our baptism.

Like Jesus who was tempted after his baptism, we are tempted by the devil because we are also baptized, because we belong already to God. Like Jesus who drew strength from his baptism, his relationship with the Father, let us also pray that we may be victorious over temptation and sin as we strive to remain faithful to our union with the Father who loves us greatly.