In this sensation-hungry world, stories of failures are more often highlighted in the news than success stories. People seem to be more interested in bad rather than the good stuff. It would have been better if the news that bring more positive energy rather than grief and sorrow are given more attention. And yet, when it’s their turn to commit mistakes, the same people get defensive and make lots of excuses.
The readings this First Sunday of Lent talk about the fall of Adam in the garden in Eden, Christ’s redeeming suffering, and Jesus’ overcoming the temptation in the desert.
Thinking about it, we realize that temptation and the way we handle it is not a one-time deal. Every day of our lives we are bombarded with trials and every time we fail, we repeat every whip, every thorn, and every nail pierced on the Sacred Body of Christ.
The Gospel tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Mt. 4: 11) Despite He’s being the Son of God, Jesus wasn’t spared temptation; the difference though is He didn’t surrender but rather overcame it. The Spirit of God is in Him, and because of His obedience and devotion to the Father’s will, became victorious and triumphant. Similarly, when we surrender and give ourselves to God, with faith and prayer we can draw on the marvelous power of Jesus to resist temptation every single day of our earthly journey.
In this holy season of Lent, let us reflect on our capability and strength to handle the temptations that we face each day. Let us fortify our spirits through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, so that we will emerge victorious and triumphant. In the event that we stumble let us pray for the humility and audacity to accept our shortcomings and failures in front of God. Let us go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we purify ourselves and become at least worthy of Christ’s love. This undying love is the one that made possible the redemption of unworthy sinners that we are. (Rom. 5: 17). Our efforts at overcoming sin will never be enough: we need Him to pass through. He will deliver, as promised. What is needed is a pure heart with a sincere, deep, abiding love for the Lord.
‘Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.’ (Ps. 51: 3-4)