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Homily for First Sunday of Lent March 12-13, 2011

posted Mar 13, 2011, 10:45 AM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

First Sunday of Lent

St. Mary's, Huntingburg

March 5-6, 2011



                The Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent is the story of Jesus tempted in the desert.

In fact, the Gospel tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert in order to be confronted with temptation.

Jesus went out so that he would be tempted.

And Jesus did so because he wanted his temptations to reveal our temptations.

In the temptations of Jesus, we see our own temptations.


                Jesus was tempted to act as though one can live by bread alone.

Now, you and I know that you can't live on a diet that consists of bread alone.

But the fact is that a lot of people in this world of ours live as if the material things of this world are enough ... as if we don't need the spiritual food of faith.

And sometimes we ourselves are tempted to think that the things, the activities, the achievements of this world are the most important things in life ...

... with faith and the things of faith coming in second ... maybe a distant second.

Sometimes Catholic parents pass on to their children the idea that their activities ... sports, scouting, various school activities ... are more important than church, more important than Sunday mass, more important than the life of faith.

But one can't live by bread alone ... a diet of bread alone would leave you seriously malnourished ... just as a diet  alone of what this world has to offer would leave a child spiritually malnourished ...

We can't live by bread alone ... and, even more, we can't really live a full human life without a real, active, and growing faith.


                Jesus was tempted to "put God to the test."

The devil said: "Just throw yourself off a tower ... and tell God that you want angels to come and save you."

Jesus was tempted to make God do what he wanted him to do, ... when he wanted it done, ... and how he wanted it done.

And that's us too.

We ask God for something ... something that we consider important, urgent,  worthy ... and then we expect him to hop to it.

And if God doesn't measure up ... do what we think he should do ... respond to our request as we want ... well, God's failed the test ... God doesn't care ... God's not paying attention.

But you can't put God to the test ... because God is God ... and, as much as we might like to think we are ... we are not.


                Jesus was tempted to worship someone other than God alone.

Now, none of us here is a devil worshipper.

Maybe there aren't many of us who really worship money or success or the things of this world ...

... but sometimes ... we do serve the falsest god of all ... the god called "Me" ... "My" ... "I" ... "Mine."

My plans ... my priorities ... my needs ... my desires ... my money ... my time ... my pleasure ... my family ... my pain ... my suffering ... my loss ... my ... my ... my ...

What about other people's needs?

What about their families?

What about their pain? ...  their suffering? ... their loss?

The God of Me ... if that's the god we're worshipping ... doesn't really care about them ... it only cares about me and mine.


                Jesus went out into the desert to fast for 40 days and 40 nights in order to face the temptations that we face ...

... the temptation to live by bread alone ...

... the temptation to put God to the test ...

... the temptation to worship some other god ...

Jesus went out to face our temptations ....

... and to overcome them ... to teach us to overcome them ...

And now, in these 40 days and nights of Lent ... he challenges to face our own temptations ... the form that those temptations take in our own lives ... to confront them as he did in his 40 days and nights ... and with his help ... and his example ... and his grace ... to defeat them.