Weekly Missionary Reflection
1st week of Lent, 26 February 2023
Gen. 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Ps. 51:3-4,5-6a,12-13,14,17; Rom. 5:12-19 (long) or Rom. 5:12,17-19 (short); Matt. 4:1-11
Gospel Reading in the first week of Lent is telling about Jesus fasting and being tempted by Satan. After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, He was led by the Spirit of God to a massive Judean desert where most of its area was uninhabited and full of danger, danger of the scorching sun and freezing night, the danger of the wild animals and scorpions, as well as short of food and water. Matthew, Mark, and Luke told in their books that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the desert. Mark firmly says: “At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert” (Mark 1:12). Jesus was brought into the desert for 40 days without food and almost no shelter. He had nothing to support Himself in this barren wilderness, except what the Father would provide for Him during His 40 days of prayer and fasting. Jesus was abandoned alone in this harsh environment, struggling with the temptation of seeking an easy and comfortable path to avoid the pain and adversities, insult and rejection, suffering and death on the cross. However, Jesus triumphed over the devil’s temptation and the power of death.
Where does Jesus get the strength to endure this harsh condition in the desert and the seductions of the tempter? Jesus lives from the words of God and finds strength in doing the Father’s will. Jesus defeats the sins not by His human effort but by the grace and strength given by His Father. He has to leave behind His own will for the sake of His Father’s will. His obedience to His Father and His willingness to bear the cross have reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His victory over sin and death not only triumphs over the forgiveness of our sins but also promotes us as the children of God.
The devil will always tempt us and he will try his best to make us choose our own will rather than the Father’s. If he fails to make us leave our faith and sin, he will attempt to lead us gradually away from God. How can we overcome the devil’s trick & temptation? In the words of His Father, Jesus finds the strength to triumph. Jesus invites us during Lent to listen to the Lord’s words and live in His words. We can not overcome the temptation if we neglect God’s words for God’s words are true and powerful weapons for us.
Lent is the opportunity that God gives us to renew our battle against the devil through prayer, fasting, and alms. Jesus is always with us in our struggles. He would like to tell us that He was also tempted but He won. His victory over Satan’s temptation is not from His own strength, instead, it comes from the Father’s word. We can triumph over our own trials by relying on the Lord’s words. Lent is the moment to listen to the words of the Spirit through the Bible. Let us live with the guidance of the Lord’s words in every aspect of our lives. We could not overcome the temptation and trial without the support of the Lord’s words.
(RP. Silvester Nusa, CSsR – Lecturer of Catholic University of Weetebula, NTT)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church of this month:
We pray that parishes, placing communion at the center, may increasingly become communities of faith, and fraternity and welcome those most in need.
For Economic Recovery
We pray that government together with the people may work hand in hand in speeding up the economic recovery, so that the result can be used for people’s welfare, especially for the poor and needy.