Reflection: First Sunday of Lent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Deut.26:4-10; Ps.90; 2nd Reading – Rom.10:8-13; Gospel – Lk.4:1-13]


We are told that Jesus left the Jordan filled with the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness… Jesus’ life was one continuous relationship with the Spirit. It was through the Spirit that he came into the world and it was through the Spirit that he lived. Whatever he did, he did it in union with the Spirit. The gospel presents this character, the Devil. We are suddenly told what he does: he tempts. It makes no difference who he tempts. As long as he does his work, it does not matter who is in front of him, he still tempts and puts doubt into the mind of those who listen to him, to create confusion.

The devil uses the same tactics in his temptations: (1) He finds a weak person – Jesus was hungry; (2) He hints and suggests something to create doubt – “if…you are the Son of God…”; Although the devil knows that Jesus is the Son of God, he still does everything he can to create doubt in the person’s head. Jesus, however, had Scripture in his head to combat the doubt that the devil is trying to instil into Jesus’ mind; (3) Insists on the person’s weakness – “turn this stone into a loaf”. Bread is important but it is not the only important thing in life … The second temptation is very similar in tactics. It is about the kingdoms of the world. Jesus is weak because he has been in the desert for forty days. He is all alone and again, the devil tries to create doubt by saying: “I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose…” The devil knows that Jesus has all the Power and the Glory because he is the Son of God!!! The devil also knows that if it has been committed to him, he is not the owner… and therefore he has to give account of what he has done with it. But still he makes empty promises to Jesus, knowing that everything belongs to God and God alone. The third temptation is about what is said in the Scriptures. Once again the devil challenges Jesus by saying: “If you are the Son of God…” as if the devil himself had any doubt about this truth!!! Jesus is challenged to throw himself down the cliff because the scripture says that the angels will guard him… so that he would not get hurt. But Jesus’ answer to the devil’s third temptation is that the Lord should never be put to the test! How interesting to note that all Jesus’ answers to the devil’s temptations were taken from the Scriptures. As soon as the devil had finished tempting Jesus, we are told that he left Jesus, to return at the appointed time. The devil continued to tempt Jesus throughout his life and never left Jesus alone. In the same way, the devil does the same thing to us. He tempts us, using the same tactics as he did with Jesus. He finds us in a weak moment, he puts some kind of doubt in us, and appears to helpfully suggest something to us to ‘overcome’ – but in reality he is preying on – our weakness. How are we going to react in the face of the devil’s temptation? Are we simply going to give in or are we armouring ourselves against him? In today’s gospel we are told that to armour ourselves against him we have to (a) be in relationship with the Holy Spirit and (b) know what is written in the scripture! We know that the devil will continue to tempt us (for he is an expert in such matters). Therefore we have to keep ourselves updated with the Word of God and continuously seek to keep our relationship with the Spirit of God.

“Lord, we know that the devil is a liar and tries to do everything to create confusion through which he can tempt us. We are weak, but we know that with your help we can overcome his temptations. Give us the strength that we need to be able to create a relationship with you and the wisdom to know what is written in the Scriptures. Thank You Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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