At that time 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:
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Do you recall comedian Flip Wilson’s famous phrase: “The devil made me do it!”? That line hits home because we human beings often make excuses when we give in to temptation. But in reality, no one “makes” us sin; we choose it, just as we freely choose to do good.
Today’s Scriptures present Adam and Eve faced with a choice for good or evil: They choose to reject God, and give in to the temptation to “be like God”—in the words of the serpent-tempter.
Another temptation scene comes in the Gospel. This time Jesus, facing the choice to accomplish his ministry in selfish, power-hungry ways, rejects the temptation, and affirms his true identity as God’s Son.
Our Christian identity is a choice we affirmed—or which was affirmed for us—at our Baptism. But we must re-affirm that choice again and again in the face of temptation.
It’s fitting that the temptation scene in the Gospel is set in the desert. In the Bible, the desert is often a place of testing—of choices. The season of Lent is like a “spiritual desert” where we hope to rediscover our identification with Christ, leading to a renewal of Baptism at Easter. Let our choices this Lent be directed by the example of Jesus in the face of temptation.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• How does the first reading from Genesis (2:7-9; 3:1-7) say that the Lord God formed the first man?
How did the first man become a living being? Where did God put the man?
This reading skips over the creation of the first woman and goes to the story of how the man and woman disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree that was forbidden. Who talked them into eating the forbidden fruit? Then what did they realize? Why did they make loincloths?
• In the second reading (Rom 5:12-19), St. Paul says death came into the world because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. What does Paul say Adam and Eve did?
Then Paul talks about Jesus and how Jesus brought the gift forgiveness. How?
• This week's Gospel reading talks about how Jesus was tempted by the devil. What three things did the devil try to get Jesus to do?
How did Jesus respond to the devil all three times?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• In the first reading, God makes man out of clay. Get some Play-Doh or modeling clay and make something.
• The Gospel tells us that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Have your family fast for a while, in the spirit of Jesus.