1st Sunday in Lent - Year A - 5th March 2017
“The Devil is Very Strong!”
Sammy, who not so many months earlier, was a young handsome man, was now an emaciated figure dying from HIV/AIDS – all brought on because of using infected needles while in prison. One day I said to him: “Sammy, I feel the Devil is very strong,” He closed his once-strong hands to make two tiny fists and replied: “Ah, but God is stronger!”
For Jesus, God is stronger.
In the gospel today, Jesus has already fasted forty days and St. Matthew says that “he was very hungry.” How weak he would feel, how easily tempted. It is the ‘tempter’s’ opportunity. The tempter does not offer Jesus bread but rather tempts him to act as God. Jesus replies: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The tempter tempts Jesus again to prove that He is God but this time he quotes scripture saying that God’s angels will “support you on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.” Jesus replies: “You must not put the Lord your God to the test.” Finally, Jesus addresses the tempter by name: “Be off, Satan! You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”
God alone is my strength
Have no fear this Lent. Jesus takes our weak human nature on a test drive through the deserts of life and he has overcome our temptations. As we begin our forty days let our simple mantra be, in times of weakness and temptation: God alone is my strength.
Fr. Michael McCullagh C.M