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Liturgical day: Sunday 1st (B) of Lent

Gospel text (Mk 1,12-15): The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and He remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him. After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There He proclaimed the Good News from God. «The time has become», He said «and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News».

«The Spirit led him into the wilderness and tempted by Satan»

+ Fr. Joan MARQUÉS i Suriñach
(Vilamarí, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgy of the first Sunday of Lent. The Gospel presents Jesus readying for his public life. He goes into the wilderness where He spends forty days in prayer and in penance. There, He is tempted by Satan.

We must also get ready for Easter. Satan is our great enemy. There are many persons that do not believe in him, and claim that he is a product of our fantasy, or he is just an abstract conception of evil, diluted in the people and the world. But no!

The Holy Scriptures mention him quite often as a spiritual and tangible being. He is a fallen angel. Jesus defines him by saying: «There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies» (Jn 8:44). St. Peter compares him with a roaring lion: «Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour» (1Pe 5:8). And Paul VI teaches: «The Devil is the number one enemy, the preeminent tempter. So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning».

How? By lying, by deceiving. Where there are lies or deceit, there is a devilish action. «The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist» (Baudelaire). And, how does he lie? He presents us with evil actions as if they were good ones; he induces us to do evil; and, in the third place, he suggests plenty of excuses to justify our sins. After swindle us, he fills us up with anxiety and sadness. Have you not felt any such experience, ever before?

Our attitude in front of temptation? Before: to watch, to pray and to avoid the occasions. While: direct or indirect resistance. Afterwards: if you have won, thank God for that. A defeated temptation is progress in sanctity. And, if you have failed, ask for forgiveness and try to learn from experience in future. Which attitude have you shown so far?

The Virgin Mary crushed the infernal serpent's head. Let Her give you the necessary strength to overcome our daily temptations.