Be off, Satan! For scripture says: ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve him alone.’
As we move into this holy season of Lent, the readings slowly begin to prepare us to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
The First Reading teaches us how God created a good world, giving life to man and woman. But Eve and Adam had ambitions for equality with God, leading to the beginning of our sense of alienation from the Divine.
The Psalm is recognised as a prayer of penitence, particularly suited for the Lenten season. It sees sin not purely in individual terms, but as an evil that can affect the whole community.
For Paul (Second Reading), the imagery of life and death provides a key to understanding what Jesus has done for us. Death signifies being cut off from a relationship with God, whereas life invokes an image of friendship and union with God. Through the life of Jesus, the new Adam, we are all restored to that friendship.
In the Gospel, Jesus, though genuinely tempted in the wilderness, remains faithful to his Father. He is resolute in resisting the devil’s seductive, reasonable-sounding temptations.
Let’s begin the season of Lent by inviting God to show us how to find the freedom of spirit to live with open-hearted generosity, and to rediscover the joy and freedom in living for others, as did Christ himself.