Gospel – Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning
you and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Then the devil left him and,
behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Reflection by Br. Mark Brown, FSC of St. John’s College High School, Washington, DC

As the Lenten season begins, we read the story of Jesus’ forty days in the desert and the temptations he faced.  These temptations can be thought of as models for our Lenten sacrifices.  Jesus was tempted to give in to his hunger (not fasting), rely upon God to catch him from the height (not a true prayer), and seek all the riches of the world (not giving alms).  For each temptation the devil produced, Jesus refused, turning to the faith found in the Hebrew Scriptures and not giving in.

You may have great resolve at the beginning of Lent to fast, pray, and give alms.  These forty days are a wonderful opportunity to re-dedicate yourself to the Lord, and to more faithfully serve your brothers and sisters.  But as the forty days continue, you may find that your resolve decreasing and various temptations increasing.  If this happens, follow the good example set by Jesus: acknowledge the temptation and refute it by turning to the Lord.

Questions for Reflection

What temptations are you facing?

Have you turned to Scripture and the Lord to find support?

How do the temptations of the modern world hold you back from what God is calling you to?

How have the battles with those temptations made you stronger, and better prepared to respond positively to the Lord?

About Br. Mark

Br. Mark has been a Christian Brother for over 25 years.  Currently, he teaches at St. John’s College in Washington, DC.

Br. Mark teaches religion and history, and moderates the school’s music department.