I was once asked by a student whether or not it was a sin to be tempted. The answer of course, is NO. It is not a sin to be tempted; to be tempted is to be human. However, if we succumb to temptation, we are at risk of falling into sin.
Even Jesus whom we know to be fully divine was tempted by the devil. In today’s account from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus had left the busyness of his ministry and had gone into the desert to be alone, usually we hear, to be alone with his Father. This time he encountered the devil who tempted him to come follow him for he had all sorts of things he could give him. Not once in this account, or twice, but three times Jesus rebuked the devil with the Word of God.
Remember too, though Jesus was also fully human, he did not succumb to temptation. Rather, he stood his ground against the presence of evil and answered the evil one with Sacred Scripture. He did NOT give into temptation! In this Gospel account we learn much from Jesus who is teaching us that we, as humans, can also resist temptation and when confronted with evil, we too, can rebuke it as we stand firm on the Word of God; the Word of God in Scripture and the presence of God with us in the Holy Spirit. We are made strong by our baptism and strengthened by our Confirmation receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit to assist us in rejecting sin and evil.
What are you tempted by in life; risky entertainment, consumerism, gaming addiction, gambling, the need to judge or criticize others, promiscuity, laziness, lack of care for others or perhaps doing whatever you want, simply because you can? We are often tempted by the world in which we live as we hear things like; “have it your way”, “do whatever you want when you want to” or “it’s no one else’s business what you do with your time – it belongs to you”. However, if we succumb to thinking this way, if we give into the temptation of complete freedom without regard for others, we will most definitely fall to sin. So how does one avoid temptation? Be aware. Know yourself and what you believe. Depend on the Holy Spirit, present within you, to give you strength and wisdom against wrongdoing. Embrace your God-given gift of selfcontrol. Hold firm to your knowledge of Jesus Christ and the promise that he is always with us and call upon the Lord often with your needs. Then we, like Jesus, can speak with confidence, “Get away Satan!” that we might continue to live in love with God and his people.
Have a blessed week,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC