Temptation of Christ – Homily for the First Sunday of Lent – Father Istifanus Sheyin
Brothers and sisters, we have come as a people in appreciation of the goodness of God in our lives. One of such goodness is the blessing of witnessing another Lenten season which provides us with an opportunity to know more about God and get more acquainted with Him. Lent prepares us towards the Pascal mysteries which are the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lent is an invitation to take a courageous step into the desert. It is an invitation to allow our wounds and injuries to come to the surface so that they can be healed. It is also an invitation to allow our inner self to come out so that Christ can heal us. This we read in the gospel where Christ is tempted. Like Christ, we are also tempted daily. All humans are inclined to sensual and material satisfaction and our inability to control this inclination is what usually leads us to sin. The Devil uses what is appealing to us to tempt us. He seduces and persuades us to accept sin. This can be good as temptation can be referred to as a period of testing – just like in the case of Job.
There are several things that the Devil uses to tempt us in our world of today. These include:
- Fashion – We want the best clothes, shoes, wear the best perfumes and as a result, we are willing to do anything just to afford those luxuries. Some even go ahead to live ‘fake’ lives. They live above their means while indulging in evil just to appear flashy.
- Food – Although a basic need, there are those who can be tempted to do anything by offering or denying them food.
- Wealth – As a result of the crave to acquire wealth, many have indulged in cheating and stealing. We have become slaves to money in a bid to become wealthy.
- Prestige, power and authority – The Devil tempted Christ by saying he would give him the kingdoms of the world if he worshipped him. This craving for prestige, power and authority is perhaps the most terrible thing of our age. People are willing to kill and unleash mayhem on their own people just to acquire this. But to a large extent, power destroys people.
- Miracles – For the love of miracles, people now hover from one church to another. As a result, they are not deeply rooted in the Word but are merely seeking their pleasure. Such people can be led astray with the belief that they will witness a miracle.
One thing we should note is that sin breaks our relationship with God. This is seen in the first reading where the Israelites forgot the greatest miracle ever which was the Exodus. They forgot about God’s mercies and fell into sin. But whenever we as Christians sin, we forget the Creed where it is said that Christ died and rose from the dead. Upon that He suffered death for our sake, does he then deserve our sinful conduct? Remember that in our times of despair, lowliness, ridicule, among others, God was by our side lifting us through such trying times. We have an opportunity to ask God for mercy from the depth of our hearts.
In the second reading, it states that no matter how many times we have fallen, if we confess with our lips that we are sorry, and believe in our hearts, God will forgive us. He is ready to take us back because He is merciful. May God grant us the grace to truly repent and reconcile ourselves with Him and with one another so we can be the people He wants us to be through Christ our Lord. Amen.