blank'/> SHARING CATHOLIC TRUTH: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT --- YEAR A - Mt 4:1-11 --- YEAR B - Mk 1:12-15 --- YEAR C - Lk 4:1-13 --- Winning over the temptations - the three P's - power (prestige), pleasure, possessions through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

Friday, July 06, 2012

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT --- YEAR A - Mt 4:1-11 --- YEAR B - Mk 1:12-15 --- YEAR C - Lk 4:1-13 --- Winning over the temptations - the three P's - power (prestige), pleasure, possessions through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

Glorja lil Alla
[Ġud:1:24] Lil dak li għandu l-qawwa jħariskom mill-waqgħa, u jqegħedkom bla tebgħa u ferħana quddiem is-sebħ tiegħu, [Ġud:1:25] lil Alla waħdu Salvatur tagħna, permezz ta' Ġesù Kristu Sidna, glorja, kobor, qawwa u setgħa qabel kull żmien, issa, u għal dejjem ta' dejjem. Ammen.


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Pope's Angelus: The devil is too clever. Don't talk to him
- Published on 10 Mar 2014

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Year A - Mt 4:1-11 - Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness - It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert

It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert
[Mt:4:1] Mbagħad l-Ispirtu ħa lil Ġesù fid- deżert biex ix-Xitan iġarrbu.[Mt:4:2] U Ġesù baqa' sajjem għal erbgħin jum u erbgħin lejl, u   fl-aħħar ħadu l-ġuħ.[Mt:4:3] U resaq it-tentatur u qallu: "Jekk inti Bin Alla, ordna li dan il-ġebel isir ħobż."[Mt:4:4] Iżda Ġesù wieġbu: "Hemm miktub,[Mt:4:5] Mbagħad ix-Xitan ħadu miegħu fil-Belt imqaddsa, qiegħdu fuq il-quċċata tat-tempju,[Mt:4:6] u qallu: "Jekk inti Bin Alla, inxteħet għal isfel; għax hemm miktub li,[Mt:4:7] Qallu Ġesù: "Hemm miktub ukoll,[Mt:4:8] Għal darb'oħra x-xitan ħadu miegħu fuq muntanja għolja ħafna, urieh is-saltniet kollha tad-dinja u l-glorja tagħhom,[Mt:4:9] u qallu: "Dawn kollha nagħtihom lilek jekk tinxteħet tadurani."[Mt:4:10] Mbagħad qallu Ġesù: "Itlaq, Xitan! Għax hemm miktub,[Mt:4:11] Mbagħad ix-Xitan ħallieh. U minnufih ġew xi anġli u kienu jaqduh.

Year B - Mk 1:12-15 -- The Temptation of Jesus ... - It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert ...

It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert
(Mt 4, 1-11 ; Lq 4, 1-13)

[Mk:1:12] Mbagħad minnufih l-Ispirtu ħarġu fid-deżert. [Mk:1:13] U baqa' fid-deżert erbgħin jum, jiġġarrab mix-Xitan. Kien jgħix mal-bhejjem selvaġġi, u kienu jaqduh l-anġli.
Il-bidu tal-ministeru ta' Ġesù fil-Galilija
(Mt 4, 12-17 ; Lq 4, 14-15)

[Mk:1:14] Wara li arrestaw lil Ġwanni, Ġesù mar il-Galilija jxandar l-Evanġelju ta' Alla Mk:1:15] u jgħid: "Iż-żmien huwa mitmum, u s-Saltna ta' Alla waslet; indmu u emmnu fl-Evanġelju."

Year C - Lk 4:1-13 -- Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness - It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert

4. It-tiġrib ta' Ġesù fid-deżert
(Mt 4, 1-11 ; Mk 1, 12-13)

[Lq:4:1] Ġesù, mimli bl-Ispirtu s-Santu, raġa' lura mill-Ġordan u l-Ispirtu ħadu fid-deżert. [Lq:4:2] Hemm għal erbgħin jum Ġesù kien imġarrab mix-Xitan. Matul dawk il-jiem ma kiel xejn; u mbagħad, meta għaddew dawk il-jiem, ħadu l-ġuħ. [Lq:4:3] U x-Xitan qallu: "Jekk inti Bin Alla, għid lil din il-ġebla ssir ħobż." [Lq:4:4] Wieġbu Ġesù: "Hemm miktub li 'l-bniedem mhux bil-ħobż biss jgħix.' " [Lq:4:5] Mbagħad ix-Xitan ħadu fl-għoli u wrieh is-saltniet tad-dinja kollha f'daqqa. [Lq:4:6] Qallu x-Xitan: "Nagħtik is-setgħa fuq dawn kollha, bil-glorja tagħhom ukoll għax hija ngħatat lili, u jiena nagħtiha lil min irrid. [Lq:4:7] Jekk tinxteħet quddiemi tagħtini qima, kollha tiegħek tkun." [Lq:4:8] Ġesù wieġbu u qallu: "Hemm miktub,
          'Lill-Mulej Alla tiegħek tagħti qima,
           u lilu biss taqdi.' "

[Lq:4:9] Mbagħad ix-Xitan ħadu Ġerusalemm, qiegħdu fuq  il-quċċata tat-tempju, u qallu: "Jekk inti Bin Alla, inxteħet minn hawn għal isfel. [Lq:4:10] Għax hemm miktub li  
       'Lill-anġli tiegħu jordnalhom
        biex jieħdu ħsiebek sewwa,'
        [Lq:4:11] u li
        fuq idejhom jerfgħuk,
        ħalli ma taħbatx riġlek ma' xi ġebla.' "

[Lq:4:12] Wieġeb Ġesù u qallu: "Jingħad, 'Iġġarrabx lill-Mulej Alla tiegħek.' " [Lq:4:13] Mbagħad ix-Xitan meta temm dan it-tiġrib kollu, telaq minn ħdejh sa ma wasal il-waqt.

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First Sunday of Lent - the three P's

Lent has launched. Beginning with Wednesday’s ashes, this 40-day season is a journey into the heart of our faith. The word “Lent” comes from the word meaning “spring” and, we can expect that if we actively undertake this Lenten journey, we will experience spiritual growth and renewal. This first Sunday of Lent, we follow Christ into the desert where he faces three temptations. Each temptation is powerful precisely because it sparkles with illusions of happiness. The devil beguiles Jesus by appealing to the three P’s: power (jump from temple parapet), pleasure (stones transformed to bread) and possessions (the wealth and magnificence of the nations). Because they are basic human goods, each entices as the source and summit of human happiness. Jesus responds to each enticement by quoting Scripture, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that come from the mouth of God;” “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test;” and finally, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” As a man, Jesus overcomes the devil’s wiles, not because of miraculous motivation or super strength of will, but because He was empowered by the truth of Scripture. Jesus went into the desert to pray, fast and open himself to the father’s will. These three spiritual exercises strengthened Him, so that when temptation came, He responded, not simply with His own desires, but with God’s words. In the face of the temptations of power, pleasure and possessions, Lent gives us the spiritual tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as potent resources with which to overcome temptation. Let’s consider how each of these spiritual exercises promotes spiritual health.

Prayer is the foundation of our spiritual life. Without prayer, no spiritual growth is possible. In the Gospel we see that prayer is what shatters the illusion that happiness comes from power. Instead, happiness comes from knowing and doing God’s will, which is discovered through prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God and then quieting ourselves to listen for His response. Though it may seem easy to do in theory, there are few things more difficult than to take time each day for quiet communion with our creator. From the time we wake up until the moment of evening retirement, our days are bursting with the noise of activity and bustle. Yet through it all, God is trying to speak to us. But we cannot hear his voice without taking regular time each day to sit down, quiet our minds and embrace the silence. Lent calls us in a practical way to carve out moments for prayer, to join the community in worship and to enter into the silence where God speaks to our hearts.

Fasting is the act of giving up something in order to develop spiritual discipline. In fact, fasting is so ingrained in the Catholic psyche that Lent has almost become synonymous with it. One main meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Meatless Fridays, no sweets or chocolates: such are traditional fasting practices. By fasting, we overcome the illusion that pleasure can truly bring us lasting happiness. Pleasure is fleeting and, by denying ourselves those comforts that we often mistake for necessities, our heart expands to receive the graces that go beyond our shallow desires. Fasting goes beyond just food and drink. Consider the time and energy we commit each day to TV, the Internet, social media. For example, instead of playing “Words with Friends,” we might take time to pray words from the Scripture.

Almsgiving is the culmination of the Lenten disciplines, for through it we open ourselves up to God’s grace. Just as fasting is about “giving up,” almsgiving is about “giving to.” Whereas fasting is about saying no to ourselves, almsgiving is about saying yes to others. Through almsgiving, we conquer the temptation to seek real happiness in our possessions. Almsgiving most directly applies to giving financial and other material support to those in need, but it can also apply to spiritual needs. For instance, when I asked our elementary children to give an example of almsgiving, one child offered, “I could be kind and share with someone at school who never shares with me.” What if for each of the next six weeks, you chose a family member, co-worker or even a stranger and went out of your way to show some act of kindness. It can be as simple as giving a hug, helping with chores, or being mindful to saying thank you! These 40 days of Lent will be filled with struggles and temptation, yet through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we anticipate the rich fruit of God’s blessing blossoming in our lives. May this Lent truly be a springtime of grace!

~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.


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In Matthew 4, Jesus is confronted by Satan in the desert. In this story, we learn how Jesus used Scripture in spiritual warfare against Satan. Today, I want us to look at Matthew 4:1-11. This temptation is an attempt by Satan to subvert God’s plan for human redemption by causing Jesus to fall into sin and disobedience and thus disqualify Him as the sinless Savior.
Matthew 4:1 says that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit guided Jesus in His earthly life, providing a pattern for His followers to be empowered and led by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18). The Greek word for tempted (perirazo) can also mean test. While God never tempts anyone to do evil (James :13); He does use circumstances of all types to test a person’s character (Hebrews 11:17). Diablos (Greek, meaning slander, or accuser) is here preceded by the definite article to indicate the one who tempts. Although the devil intended to thwart God’s plan and purposes; the Father uses this evil intention for the good purpose of strengthening Jesus in His messianic role.
Jesus fasted “forty days and forty nights” according to Matthew 4:2. Jesus’ experience of 40 days of fasting in the wilderness corresponds to Israel’s experience of 40 years of testing in the wilderness (Deut 8:2-3). Jesus endured His testing victoriously and obediently. Moses also fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights on two occasions (Ex. 24:18, 24:28). Fasting was a means of focusing intently on prayer. Forty days is also about the longest a human can fast without permanent bodily harm.
Verse 3 in Matthew 4 says, “If you are the Son of God.” Jesus was and is the Son of God, but He refused to be tricked by the devil into using His divine prerogatives to make the trial any easier for Himself. Jesus obeyed as a man; as the representative for all who believe so as to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15) on behalf of His people. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said “It is written.” Jesus responds to each temptation by quoting from Deuteronomy; linking His experience to Israel’s in the desert. In Deut. 8:2, Moses remains the Israelites of God’s testing through hunger and his miraculous provision of manna.
The holy city is Jerusalem and the pinnacle of the temple is the southeast corner of the temple area, the top of, which was some 300 feet above the floor of the Kidron Valley (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15.411-412). The devil’s use of Matthew 4:6-7, a quotation from Psalm 91 is a blatant misuse of Scripture, and is used by Satan in an effort to manipulate Jesus. Such a spectacular display as jumping from this great height unharmed would have gained Him an enthusiastic following but it wouldn’t have followed the Father’s messianic and redemptive plan of suffering and proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven.
Satan tells Jesus in Matthew 4:9 to “fall down and worship me.” The devil offers a shortcut to Jesus’ future reign in God’s kingdom— a shortcut that would side-steps Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross and come at the cost of exchanging the love of the Father for the worship of Satan.  Satan’s words, “All these I will give you” is a lie.
Matthew 4:11 records that the “devil left him.” Jesus resisted the devil by standing firm on God’s word setting an example for His followers. Angels cane and were ministering to Him and their ministering included much needed physical sustenance. All of heaven knew the significance of Jesus’ initial victory in this cosmic battle.

What we can learn from Matthew 4:1-11

The main lesson we learn from this passage is Jesus use of Scripture in battling Satan. As noted above, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy in order to fight against Satan. The believer must study to show him or herself approved as a workman not ashamed, but able to handle and interpret the Word of God with precision and great care. Jesus quotes Scripture and says “It is written” four times. How do you fight against sin and temptation? Do you quote Scripture related to your specific temptation and struggle against sin? Or do you rely on yourself? Jesus gives His disciples an example of One who fought against sin and Satan by quoting Scripture.
After quoting Scripture four times, Matthew 4:11 says that “the devil left him.”  James 4:7 and 1stPeter 5:8 are instructive for believers because they teach the importance of humility and submission to God.  The believer who rests in the finished work of Christ will be able to fight against sin and temptation, and make much of Him in and through their lives. The only way that the believer in Christ can ward off Satan’s accusations and attacks is to go back to who they already are in Him. This means that as the believer grow in Christ they increasingly grow in the knowledge of who they already are in Him—adopted, redeemed, sanctified (not yet glorified), which grants them the ability to stand (not perfectly) in the grace of God.
Knowing a lot of the Bible, and being able to recite from memory Scripture verses is a very good tool in the believers’ battle against sin, Satan and the world. These tools; however, are often treated as ultimate in spiritual warfare; when in fact they are not. The message that contains the power of God to save and sanctify is the Gospel, which means only the Gospel and not a tool is ultimate. The Gospel calls believers away from self and to Christ; in order to put off the flesh and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This teaching has huge implications on our daily lives as believers, because it highlights the various ways in which we often fail to appropriate the truth of who we are in Him (adopted, justified, positionally sanctified) by exposing the fact that we are prone to embrace our sinful habits instead of putting our sin to death, and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer’s identity in Christ ought to motivate them to not only put sin to death, but also to appropriate His life into all of life. The identification of the believer with Christ in His death and resurrection frees them from hypocrisy to be who they really are in Christ. The failure then to appropriate who we are in Christ exposes our attitude towards sin, which in turn demonstrates our apathy towards our sin. Jesus was tempted in every way and yet never sinned, which means that as His followers we ought to look to, mediate upon and run to the Cross of Christ daily in our fleeing from sin in order to appropriate our identification with Him into every area of our lives.
Jesus’ use of Scripture in spiritual warfare demonstrates that Satan is no match against the Word of God. The Word of God testifies to the truth about who Jesus is and what He has done in His death, burial and resurrection. Christians ought to take what they know about Scripture, and appropriate that knowledge daily into their lives; as they fight against Satan, sin and the world. Believers ought to do battle every day, and every moment against sin, the flesh and the world, which means they need to daily preach the Truth about who Jesus is and what He has done to themselves. The believer needs to do this (preach the Gospel to themselves) so they will be able to resist sin when tempted and stand in the grace of God.


Jesus engagement with Satan in the wilderness and His use of Scripture is instructive to believers on many fronts. First, Jesus teaches believers that they can only overcome by appropriating the truth of who they already are in Him. Second, Jesus teaches the supremacy and sufficiency of His Word by speaking that Truth of His Word in confronting Satan. Thirdly, Jesus’ use of Scripture calls believers to use the Word of God in order to expose the  inconsistencies and errors of Satan and his followers  by pointing them to Jesus.  Fourthly, Jesus use of Scripture is instructive to His people, because He alone grants His people; the gift of His righteousness in order that the Holy Spirit may illuminate His Word to them individually as they read and study it, and corporately in the context of the local Church as believers gather to hear the Word of God preached. Finally, Jesus demonstrates in the desert that only the Word of God provides the fount from, which the believer can draw from in order to put sin to death and put on the Lord Jesus in all of life.