This final Lenten reflection focuses on the last two temptations of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:1-13, and Luke 23:35-37; 39), and applies them to ManHusbandDad spirituality as in the previous reflection. The last two temptations are as follows:
Third Temptation: “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,’ and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Reflection: Putting God to the test, is something that we can see a lot of in our world today.
In our lives: Many people say something: “Jesus is a merciful and loving God; so it is okay if I have sex with my girlfriend. Having sex isn’t going to send you to Hell. I want to go to Heaven, but I’m going to continue enjoying sex with my girlfriend.” This example demonstrates putting God to the test. Yes, Jesus Christ is merciful and will forgive us of our sins, only if we are willing to change our ways. Sadly, many Catholics try to have it both ways, by proudly embracing sin, and living the faith at the same time; which we classify today as a cultural Catholic. Cultural Catholics can be seen in a big way with the problem of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, for example. Of course, we will always make mistakes and fall to sin, because we are imperfect creatures.
Application: We can overcome our imperfections and sins if we truly turn to Christ and embrace Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and embrace His teachings in the Catholic Church. We need to frequent Confession on a regular basis, in order to purify us from our imperfections. During this Lenten season, let’s examine our personal lives, and see how we can avoid putting Jesus Christ to the test.
Final Temptation: The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.”
Reflection: We never think of the taunting toward Jesus on the cross by the public as a temptation by Lucifer, but in reality, it is. The Devil knows about the redemptive reality of the crucifixion, and wants to stop it at all cost. Jesus of course out smarts the Devil for the last time, and is victorious three days later, on Easter Sunday. The passion, death and resurrection of Christ, is what saves us. Thanks to Jesus we are redeemed from our sins.
In our lives: As men, we need to look at Jesus as our guide in standing firm to what is true. We live in a world today that rejects objective truth. We must remain strong and faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, in season and out of season, and be a ManHusbandDad for all seasons. We must not fall toward the temptation of coming off the cross. The world wants us to quit being faithful to truth, just like how the world wanted Jesus to quit and come off the cross, and let the Devil win. True ManHusbandDads must remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, even when the world ridicules us for living out the Twelve Righteous Virtues and, for example, laughs at us for remaining faithful to God, Truth, and The Church during this unfathomable clergy sexual abuse crisis. The world – whether consciously or not – wants Lucifer to win and we cannot let this happen.
Application: By embracing the cross in our personal lives, we have the strength to overcome the temptation to surrender to the Culture of Death, and we are able to embrace martyrdom like Jesus (and the Man for All Seasons, St. Thomas More). We will succeed in living – and spreading – the Gospel only if we keep our eyes centered on the crucified Jesus.
Jesus gave us the graces to overcome our temptations when He defeated His. All we have to do is ask Jesus for the will and strength to overcome our weaknesses whenever we are tempted to commit sin.
During this Lenten season, let us all examine our lives and see how we can turn away from sin and embrace Jesus in all things.
To help prepare for Easter, check out Fr. Bill Casey’s book, “Making a Holy Lent: 40 Meditations to Prepare You for the Church’s Holiest Season”.
I pray that you have a holy Lent, and that your soul is purified and prepared to receive the risen Jesus on Easter Sunday.