True faith overcomes temptation.
“Listen to Him.”(Mt 17: 5b)
The month of March ushers in an important season of the Church – Lent. During this 40-day period prior to the commemoration of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, we are encouraged to purify ourselves and deepen our faith through prayers, fasting and generous almsgiving or charitable works. Our focus though should not really be on depriving ourselves of something, as much as devoting ourselves to God. The readings of the 1st to the 4th Sunday of Lent remind us to reflect on and understand how Jesus’s salvific mission helps us to avoid temptation and sin, and receive God’s grace of forgiveness and mercy.
For the 1st week of Lent, our theme is:We overcome temptation when we fast, pray and stand on God’s Word. The gospel of the 1st Sunday of Lent narrates how the devil had tempted Jesus after fasting for forty days and nights in the desert. Jesus shows us by example how the power of God’s word is be able to thwart the snares of Satan in tempting us to succumb to our rebellious desires to satisfy our cravings for pleasure, material things and selfishness. Our community word for March states: True faith overcomes temptation. If we follow and imitate the heart of Jesus, we will benefit from the Lord’s promise for the week: “…thru the obedience of one, the many will be made righteous,”(Rom 5:19b).
The theme for the 2nd week of Lent gives us a way out of temptation to commit sin: We overcome temptation when we listen to God’s voice. The transfiguration of Jesus prepared the apostles for His passion. It gave them a vision that goes beyond death – a beatific vision of heaven. Jesus was able to face suffering and death because He was obedient to do the will of His Father. In like manner, we must also allow ourselves to be transformed, from darkness to light, and die to our sinful selves. By this, we may begin to live a life which reflects a new awareness of our relationship with God who loves us beyond this world. If we listen to His voice, His promise is: “I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you,” (Gn 12:2).
In the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Jesus promises the Samaritan woman at the well, “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst,” (Jn 4:14a). Although sin clouds our thoughts that God has forgotten us, especially during our direst need, we have to believe that God never leaves us and He is always here. He waits for us to come to Him and be dependent upon Him for consolation as we go through every wilderness and temptation in life. But, we will truly be helped if we align our will to God’s will and be reminded of our theme this week: We overcome temptation when we do the Father’s will.
Our Theme for the 4th Sunday of Lent is:We overcome temptation when we remain in God’s presence. As we allow ourselves to be purified by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we will have the strength and fortitude to fight temptation that beset us even in the smallest concerns of our life. One of this is discouragement, when we feel hopeless and our trust in the goodness of God is being challenged. The devil uses this tactic so that we will slowly be separated from God and thus remain in the darkness of our sins. But like the blind man in the Gospel, Jesus promises us that we will not remain in darkness for long if we truly seek Him with all our heart. St. Paul captures the Lord’s promise in his letter to the Ephesians: “Christ will give you light,” (Eph 5:14b).
Lord, thank you for not giving up on us, but making us aware of Yourunfailing grace. We thank You for, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, You have shown us that love meansunconditional obedience to Your will even when we are faced with temptation, trials and difficulties. You gave us hope in Jesus by listening to Him and following His light. May our reflection during the Lenten season bring us to realization that we must fully accept the grace of salvation in our thoughts, words and deeds, as true witness of Your Kingdom thru Christ our Lord. Amen.