From the Desk
of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda
Father Tony Stubeda
An Offer We Need to Resist
On Ash Wednesday we entered into this great season of renewal, conversion and mercy. Like most of you, I made some resolutions to help me observe this holy season. I am fasting each day and abstaining from meat on two days a week. I am also watching no television after 8:00 p.m. on work nights, which basically means I wonít be watching television during Lent. The other thing that I am trying to do is to not let the weather affect my mood so drastically. I had no sooner made this last resolution for disciplining my life during Lent, than the weather report for this weekend turned ugly. They are predicting between 12 and 18 inches of snow, some ice and blustery winds. People are already asking what we are going to do about weekend Masses and events. I am tempted to break my resolution, to give into a very bad mood and pout, but I am going to resist as best I can. We think of temptation in that way. We decide to do or not to do something, and then that one thing becomes almost impossibly attractive. It is like deciding not to have chocolate and then wandering around in a candy store on sample day.
On the face of things, the temptations of Jesus seem to be simple. The first temptation is to eat when you are hungry. The second seems to be a feeble attempt to allow the promise of riches and power to displace God in his life. The final temptation seems to be asking for God to prove his love, or alternatively for Jesus to prove he trusts Godís love. We can be left thinking that Jesusí temptation is not that big a challenge.
If we reflect more deeply on Jesusí struggle with temptation, we find a more profound battle between God and evil. Each of the temptations presents the challenge of turning away from God and turning away from what Jesusí knows to be the truth about who he is. The first temptation is to use his power, not to express Godís love and desire to save us, but for his own comfort. The second temptation is to proclaim the lie that God is not the Lord of all creation and ruler of the universe, and the last temptation is to abandon his mission of salvation so that he might be reassured of his special relationship with the Father. In the end, the temptations are one: to deny, subvert and turn away from Godís plan for salvation.
Each of us will face simple temptations in regard to our Lenten resolutions, but these temptations are meant to help us turn away from paltry and unimportant things, and to be embraced by Godís plan for our salvation.