First Sunday of Lent (A)
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalm: Be merciful, o Lord, for we have sinned.
Welcome to the first Sunday of Lent!
Tayo po ngayon ay nasa panahon na ng kwaresma. Opening salvo po natin ang Ash Wednesday (March 1) bilang pagpapahayag ng ating pagsisisi sa ating mga kasalanan at paghahanda sa ating mga sarili sa mga gagawin nating mga sakrispisyo. Ang kwaresma po ay 40 days before Easter. Sa taong ito, ang Easter Sunday ay April 16. Kung inyo pong bibilangin from March 1 to April 15, the day before Easter Sunday – mayroong 46 days! Mali yata ang sinasabi mong 40 days Father! Sumobra yata ng anim na araw Father! Hindi po yan sumobra bes, sapagkat hindi kabilang sa counting ang Sunday. This is because from the earliest days of the Church, Sunday is always a feast day, a day of celebration, kaya hindi siya kabilang sa counting. That makes it 40!
Today’s gospel reading points us to the three temptation of Christ in the desert. Pagnilayan po natin ang three temptations:
- “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)
What is wrong with being hungry? It is but human to feel hunger? At first glance, the command of the devil seemed very, very trivial. Parang maliit na bagay lang, gutom eh. But we must remember that the perfection of Jesus comes in following the will of the Father. Ang patibong talaga dito ay sundin mo ang gusto ng demonyo. Mag-ingat sa mga trivial matters, mag-iingat sa maliliit na kasalanan. Dyan nag-uumpisa ang big-time na kasamaan.
- “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” (Matthew 4:6)
What is wrong with throwing himself down? The devil quoted the psalm of trust that told of God’s protection of his people. However, Jesus also knew that His trust was perfect, and that He didn’t need to do anything heroic to prove it. The moment an individual puts God to the test, that person gives evidence that he or she doesn’t actually trust God in the first place.
I remember one instance, nakapasok ako sa isang warehouse ng isang parokyano. At doon sa pinakabulwagan ng kanilang warehouse ay nakita ko ang imahe ng Santo Niňo. Ok n asana ako doon ngunit nagulat ako sapagkat katabi ng Baby Jesus ang palakang naka-nganga at pusa pang gumagalaw-galaw. Sabi ng parokyano: “Father, kung di ibibigay ng Dios ang aking hinihinling, ako ay mayroong reserba.”
Do you think if you have your full trust in the Lord, you still need lucky charms? God is enough!
- “All these I shall give to you, if you shall prostrate yourself and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9)
This is like saying: “Sambahin mo ako kahit one second lang – at ibibigay ko say o ang lahat-lahat in an instant.” Of course, alam natin, ito ay kasinungalingan lamang.
These temptations are very much relatable. Often, Satan whispers to us that we can be immoral, we can behave badly, and gawin lahat ng gusto natin sapagkat wala naman makakaalam di ba – ikaw lang at si Satanas. Hmmm. Mag-ingat, sapagkat si Satanas ang hari ng kasinungalingan. Kung sasabihin niya sa iyong….
atin-atin lang ito ha,
this is just between us,
secret lang natin ito ha,
you and me (!!!)
wag kang umasa. Ta-traydorin ka lang niya – ginawa niya yan kay Eba. Gagawin din niya sa yo yan.
The three temptations of Christ are meant to remind us that Jesus wholeheartedly followed His Father’s will. If we want to also wholeheartedly follow His Father’s will, the devil will also do, everything in his power, to prevent us.
In reality, many times we give in. But the Lenten message is that have the grace to say no as reflected by the Lenten connection to our baptism. Dati mayroong tayong order of penitents. Sila ang mga nangumpisal sa kanilang kasalanan and they were assigned to do penance to be done for a long period of time. Then by Easter Vigil, the order of penitents are reconciled to the Christian community. It was for them second baptism.
Brothers and sisters, may we see this Lenten season as our journey towards our own renewal of baptismal vows, which we shall observe on Easter Vigil. May our Lenten observance make us even closer to Jesus, not only in thoughts, but also in actions.
This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD – Witness to the Word!