REFLECTION | Do not make ‘sinning’ a way of life

Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”

He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth/ from the mouth of God.’ “Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against s stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’

Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”

At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’ “Then the devil left him and, behold angels came and ministered to him.
—Matthew 4:1-11

It is a time of great renewal, a time of grace. The season of Lent had already started last Ash Wednesday.  Lent is a period of  penitential preparations and renewal of faith.  In this season, we are invited to turn away from committing sin and have oneself renewed, hence, to believe in the  gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our gospel account is very familiar to us.  It is the temptation of Jesus while he was doing prayer and fasting in the desert.  Here, we can see the devil talking to Jesus and attempted to  tempt Jesus.  In the olden days, cases of devil possession was rampant as people had turned away from God.

After the baptism of Jesus by John, he proceeded and spent forty days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness.  In this time when the devil thought that Jesus was vulnerable, weak and tired, hungry and thirsty that it offered Jesus some comforts from his suffering—when one is hungry, thirsty, and uncomfortable, among others.

The devil dared, provoked, and pushed Jesus to the maximum and Jesus likewise halted the devil to continue what it desires. The devil offered Jesus bread, control, power, riches but was refuted and rebuked by Jesus. Jesus did not allow the devil to over- power him. Jesus never gave in to the temptations and attempts of the devil, instead, he ordered the devil to go away from him and worship God instead and He alone shall you serve and not yourself.

The gospel is very relevant and very concrete in our present time, as there are a lot of tests and temptations we face both in personal and communitarian levels. Today, we are faced with situations  that do not effect good in us but detrimental to our well being. We are always tested by the promises of a good life offered by political and economical privileges and entitlements.

I’ve met a number of rich and powerful people and some of them honestly shared that when you seem to have everything, you could feel invincible and feel like “god.”  They admitted that the temptation is very strong to act like “god.” That feeling of being able to do what you want to do all the time.

But too much power and material possessions could also lead to wanton corruption. The temptations are right there in front of you. For some of these people, they have accepted that fact and are finding it very difficult to refuse such temptations. They even justified their act by saying that the practice is already embedded in our culture.

We all commit sins that is a fact but when we make “sinning” a way of life that is problem. When corruption becomes normal and natural, when temptations are just part of our daily living, that is frightening.

The gospel tells us not to believe in the devil and to go away from the promises of the devil. We do not want to be corrupted by some illusions and temporary enjoyments offered by the devil. But we have to hold on our values, the virtues of a just man/ woman..  let us find our God and our sense of living as followers of Christ, as children of light.

Let us take advantage of this holy season of  Lenten as we pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Do I easily submit to the promises of the material world?
Do I easily give up on riches and possessions offered by the world?
Do I negotiate with the Lord when I am in trouble and helpless?
Am I strong to resist the temptations of the world?
Do I worship God or myself?
Do I say “sorry” to God when I have done wrong?
Am I ready to do penance and sacrifice for who need grace and salvation?

Almighty and Ever- living God, help us to be strong and firm in our faith,  principles and values  that we hold to. In times of temptations and tests, may we hold on to you our God and may you always become our rock, our shield, and our light.  Give us the strength and grace to be whole and holy so we only worship you and no other.  This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives ad reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray for all of us who hold leadership and management positions, especially our government leaders that may they be truthful, honest and transparent in their commitment and works as they serve the people under their care.  May they resist all forms of corruption and bribery so they may truly be called sons and daughters of the one true light—Jesus.