Resist temptation by following Jesus’s example

| Deacon Brian Park | February 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

“Don’t waste your time by going to Mass on Sunday. You know you would rather spend the whole day at the lake.”

“Don’t worry, no one is around. You know you want to check out that website.”

“Come on, it’s only $50, take it. You deserve that money. Besides, no one is going to notice $50 missing from the petty cash.”

Temptation to sin is something that we all experience.

In the Gospel this Sunday, we hear the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, where the devil tries to thwart Jesus’ divine mission by tempting him to sin.

In this encounter, Jesus stands strong against the attack of the evil one, and thus provides for us all a great model for how we can fight temptation when it inevitably comes our way. In fact, this Gospel passage teaches us several things about temptation and how to resist it as Jesus did.

First, it is important to point out that the devil’s temptations began after Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and “he was hungry.”

It is good to be aware of the fact that many of us are most vulnerable to temptations when our physical or emotional states are not in a good place. Here is a good acronym to remember: H.A.L.T. —which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

So, when you find yourself hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired, then it is probably a good time to halt, to pause, to recognize the situation you are in and realize that you might be in a state where you are subject to some serious temptations to sin.

Once you realize this, you can take pre-emptive measures against possible temptations by either doing something to fix your physical or emotional state, or begin seeking the Lord and asking for his help.

The power of the word

Another key lesson about temptation that this Gospel passage teaches us is that the word of God has great power when one is being tempted.

In each of the three temptations by the devil, Jesus responds by proclaiming the word of God. Thus, when we experience temptations, we should do as Jesus did: quickly bring to mind the truths found in the Scriptures.

Of course, in order to do this effectively, you have to be familiar with the Bible and know some of it by memory. A great practice to start this Lent would be memorizing Scripture. Pick a short passage (1-3 verses) and pray that Scripture, out loud, after every meal you eat. If you do this, you will be amazed at how quickly you can memorize different passages of Scripture, and thus be better prepared when temptation strikes.

St. Paul says in the second reading for this Sunday, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” All of us face temptation to sin, but never forget that God is always near to save us and help us remain faithful no matter what temptations we might face.

Deacon Park is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Joseph in West St. Paul, and his teaching parish is St. Agnes in St. Paul.


Readings

Sunday, Feb. 17
First Sunday of Lent

  • Deuteronomy 26:4-10
  • Romans 10:8-13
  • Luke 4:1-13

Reflection

What is one way that you have found successful for resisting temptation? Is there a Scripture passage that helps you in this regard?

 

Tags: , ,

Category: Sunday Scriptures