Jesus battles and conquers Satan in the Temptation. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so he can embrace a life of continual conversion in Christ and by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can conquer media “gluttony” and avoid the many near occasions of sin.

Liturgy

1st Week of Lent – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 1:12-15

Commentary

Following the manifestation of the Holy Trinity at His Baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the rugged Judean wilderness east of the Jordan River to prepare for His public ministry. In solidarity with Israel’s wandering in the desert for 40 years and men’s battles against temptation,  Jesus undergoes a grueling trial of fasting for 40 days and mysteriously allows Satan to attempt to tempt Him; unlike Adam and Israel, Jesus will triumph in His Spiritual Combat with evil by remaining absolutely obedient to God the Father. 

Sensing Jesus’ weakened physical state after 40 days of fasting, Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 4:1-11) offers a more detailed version of how Satan seeks to tempt Jesus, using temptations that worked in Eden and during the Exodus. At Eden (Gen 3), Satan successfully used doubt and deceit to tempt with food, knowledge and power to seduce Eve. During the Exodus, Israel was tempted to doubt God when hungry (Ex 16:3), was tempted to test God (Ex 17:7) and tempted into idolatry (Ex 32:1-6). Showing how to resist Satan’s evil temptations, Jesus defeats Satan using Scripture and His absolute obedience to the Father. Angels come to Jesus’ aid, as they will again at the Agony in the Garden (Lk 22:43).  

Jesus begins His public ministry in Galilee to announce the Kingdom of God to fulfill past prophecy (Is 8:23-9:1) and establish future prophecy. In the past, the land of Galilee was home to the ancient Jewish tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, the first to be exiled 800 years earlier; now this region is the first redeemed by Jesus. Looking to the future, Jesus is the great light who calls all men, including Gentiles, to repent and prepare for the Kingdom of God, through His Holy Catholic Church.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by the Gospel accounts of The Temptation which show the powerful manliness and virtues of Jesus: fasting for 40 days in the desert highlights His astounding physical Strength, Stamina, Toughness, and Fortitude; confronting the powerful evil of Satan in His weakened state demonstrates incredible Courage (a part of Fortitude); refusing food while He is starving demonstrates amazing Self-Control (a part of Diligence); refuting the arguments of Satan with Sacred Scripture reveals His Prudence and masterful use of Reason; His Harsh Rebuke makes Satan flee and shows the awesome fierceness of His Divine Power. 

Embrace a life of continual conversion in Christ

Realize: Jesus’ first preaching focused on commanding men to repent, believe, and seek the Kingdom, a call for a complete conversion of heart.

Believe: Reflect upon the need for Continual Conversion (CCC 1423,1427-1429).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so You fill me with an understanding of my sinfulness, spiritual poverty, and my need for Your salvation, and You give me a constant desire to never commit any thought, word of deed that separates me from God.

Conquer media “gluttony” and avoid many near occasions of sin

Realize: The Internet has dramatically increased Satan’s ability (CCC 394-395) to tempt men to commit The 7 Deadly Sins (CCC 1866: pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth); many men are plagued by a “gluttony” of overconsumption of online media, particularly the viewing of pornography and masturbation. 

Believe: Reflect upon The Temptation (CCC 538-540).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Temperance, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I can overcome media “gluttony”, “fast” from all unnecessary media, and avoid many near occasions of sin, cleansing my mind so I can more clearly hear Your voice.