First Sunday of Lent
March 5, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Gn 2:7-9, 3:1-7 / Ps 51 / Rom 5:12-19 / Mt 4:1-11
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
For those who are hooked on fishing, Smith Mountain Lake is one of the best places to be. Within its 20,600-acre reservoir is an abundance of popular game fish.
To go fishing you need at least a fishing rod, a reel, and a line with a hook at the end of it. But you need one more thing that is really important, because the fish will not bite an empty hook. It goes without saying that you should put bait or a fishing lure on the hook, and after you have done this you are ready to go fishing.
When the fish sees the lure, it finds it almost impossible to resist, for it sees a delicious dinner. What it doesn’t see is the hook that goes with it. The fish doesn’t know that as soon as it bites the lure, its next destination is the frying pan. Instead of enjoying its dinner, it becomes food for dinner.
The history of humankind tells us that some people are not that much smarter than the fish when it comes to biting the lure of temptation and sin. In the first reading from the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation of biting the lure for the possibility of being like gods who have the power to know what is good and what is evil. They failed to see the hook behind the lure and that they would be driven out of paradise. Instead of having a life that is full of peace, joy and gladness with God, they would end up experiencing suffering and pain for the remainder of their earthly existence.
In the gospel, after the Lord Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in fasting and prayer, the devil tried to tempt Him. Of course, unlike Adam and Eve, He was able to see the hook behind the lure because He is God. He actually didn’t need to fast or pray because He is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
He is trying to teach his disciples and us, His disciples in the 21st century, that to have the strength to say no to sin we need to fast and pray. If we can say no to the basic necessities of life like food and drink it will be easier for us to say no to the lure of temptation.
Most of all, we need to pray. St. Paul used to tell the early Christians “pray without ceasing.” The lives of saints tell us that they are as weak and human as we all are, but they were able to lead very holy lives and were able to resist the temptations around them simply because they spent a lot of time in prayer.
When we are in close communion with God we will be able to see the hook behind the lure of sin and evil. Yes, we are all weak but we have a God who is strong and through Him, with Him and in Him we will be able to see life in God’s perspective. The difference between the things that will give us fleeting happiness and those that will grant us eternal joy will be clear to us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to pray together in this Mass, let us ask the Lord that we may always have in our minds and hearts the words of our Lord Jesus in today’s gospel: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”