Gospel – Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him,
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply,

“It is written

You shall worship the Lord, your God,

and him alone shall you serve.”

Then he led him to Jerusalem,

made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,

“If you are the Son of God,

throw yourself down from here, for it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,


With their hands they will support you,

lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus said to him in reply,

“It also says,

You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

When the devil had finished every temptation,

he departed from him for a time.

Reflection by Joseph Mahon, FSC

The Church invites us every year on the First Sunday of Lent to join Jesus in the desert for forty days and to pray and fast with him and to learn from him as he discerns his identity and mission. Temptation is crucial to this discernment.

There were many expectations among the Jewish people of what the Messiah was supposed to be. By his prayer and fasting Jesus seeks to know the kind of Messiah his Father wants him to be. The devil’s sowing of doubt helps Jesus to clarity.

If you are the Son of God you can turn stone into bread. If you are the Son of God you can have the glory of power over all the kingdoms of the world. If you are the Son of God you can jump from the temple roof without harm.

The devil wants Jesus to act in his way. He tempts him to use his power to take care of himself and satisfy his own needs; to use his power to enjoy the glory of worldly kingdoms; to use his power to show that nothing, not even a leap from a high place, can hurt him. If you are the Son of God . . . .

Jesus is obedient to his Father. He asserts that God feeds the hungry in body and spirit, and so will he. The kingdoms of the world are centered on greed, division, hostility. Jesus’ Kingdom will be centered on loving God and serving God alone. Jesus will know the pains and limitations of his humanness. He will know too that God will be with him always.

Jesus’ temptations in the desert were not a unique experience. Throughout his ministry the devil challenged him in his identity. Each time he was criticized by the Jewish religious leaders, each time he encountered persons in need of healing or forgiveness, Jesus’ response was a decision to be the Beloved Son obedient to the Father. Even in his most difficult temptation on the night before he died, he chose the will of his Father over his own.

In his meditation for the First Sunday of Lent de La Salle counsels us “ . . . . be ready to meet temptation at any time, and so draw from it the benefit God wishes it to accomplish in you.” During the forty days in the desert of Lent and beyond, I can learn what God wants to accomplish through me by my choices in the face of temptation: when I choose to do what benefits others before my personal needs; when I choose to do the good, not just what makes me look good; when I accept my vulnerability that I cannot save myself. What choices can you make to accomplish God’s will when you are tempted?

As with Jesus and each of us, our Institute understands more deeply its identity – what God wants it to be – by facing the temptations and challenges of a changing world and making choices that express obedience to the Father and fidelity to the mission entrusted to it by the Church in the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle.

Since the time of the Founder principal brothers periodically have gone apart for a period of time in prayerful discernment to make choices for the life of the Institute. In two months principal brothers will gather for the 48th time in general chapter. Let our prayers and fasting this Lent be in support of them – that they will be led by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus and De La Salle in looking to the Scriptures and to the needs of the Church and world in these times to strengthen our Institute’s identity for the vitality of the Lasallian educational mission, especially in service with the poor.