The challenge to reject the devil’s empty promises
1st Sunday of Lent (A), Matthew 4:1-11
Migrant’s Sunday, March 5, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
ADAM and Eve had received everything a creature can receive. When their loyalty to God was put to the test in the Garden of Eden, they failed because they doubted the truth of God’s Word.
The Israelites had just been set free from the slavery of Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. When put to the test in the desert, they failed because they doubted the truth of God’s Word.
Jesus Christ, the new Adam and the new Israel, was tempted by Satan in the desert. He was tested three times. Three times he triumphed because he had rooted his life in the power of God’s Word and his determination to do God’s will.
A man like others in all aspects, he dared to be different in his relationship with God, and the things that matter in life. Jesus knew when to say “No” and whom to obey. He said “NO” to Satan with no uncertainty. He said “YES” to the Father, unwaveringly, for ever.
In this way, he reversed the course of history. With his “No” to Satan and “Yes” to the Father, he set an example for all mankind. With his death and resurrection, he empowered all human beings to make the right choice.
We too, in fact, are often put to the test in the desert of this life. Sin and virtue, complacency and self-denial, death and life are continually placed in front of us. If we want to be victorious and not poor defeated wrecks, we have to be aware of the devil’s “strategy” as well as of Jesus’ “strategy” in overcoming Satan’s temptations.
The devil’s strategy is well-planned. It aims to attain an objective that is usually well-concealed.
Jesus neutralized the devil’s shrewdness with his own “strategy” which, essentially consisted in rooting himself in God’s Word and in refusing to “negotiate” with the devil. Thanks to such “strategy,” Jesus’ victory was complete and absolutely sure. Had Adam and Eve followed Jesus’ strategy when tempted in the Garden of Eden, they would have won and their descendants would not have been born in a condition of global misery.
Had the Israelites followed the guidance of God’s Word, they would have entered the Promised Land right away, rather than being condemned to dwell and die in the desert.
Now it is our turn. Shall we follow the example of Adam and Eve, and that of the Israelites, or the example of Christ?
The choice is ours. If we intend to be true to the name “Christian,” we should have no uncertainty. The WORD OF GOD and HIS WILL should be always our constant inspiration and our undimmed light. Then, we too shall share in the victory of Jesus.