CLIQUER SUR LA LANGUE DESIREE
“Jesus succeeds in defeating the temptations of the desert to lead us to the Kingdom and the Promised Land.”
Readings: First Sunday of Lent
“In the Spirit he was led through the wilderness where he was tempted”
Since Ash Wednesday, we have begun the time of spiritual preparation for Easter celebrations.
The Ash Wednesday Gospel reminded us of the three spiritual exercises, summarizing all the others, practiced by the believer in order to adjust his existence to the evangelical precepts. These means are alms, prayer and fasting.
The account of Jesus' temptation is told by the three synoptic gospels: Mark, Matthew and Luke, but not by John. In the three stories, the temptation in the desert is linked to the baptism of Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit, received at baptism, that pushes Jesus into the desert. The other link that strongly unites our three evangelists is the fact that the devil resumes twice the title received at the baptism by Jesus, questioning him: “If you are the son of God?” ”.
Jesus is the Son of God, he is filled with the Holy Spirit, what will he do with this filiation? Our three evangelists will then diverge as to their reading of the narrative of temptation and each will insist on a different point.
Saint Mark in his gospel insists on re-creation. By referring us to the end of his gospel to Isaiah chapter 11, Mark clearly alludes to the message of this great prophet: the Messiah will recreate the world and restore humanity to its first harmony.
Saint Matthew, meanwhile, makes Jesus and the Devil dialogue with quotations from the Psalms and Deuteronomy. He thus makes us glimpse of Jesus as the new Moses, the new deliverer and savior of Israel.
Jesus is the one who manages to overcome the temptations of the desert to lead us to the Kingdom and the promised land.
And for Saint Luke that we have just heard the temptation of Jesus is an anticipation of the Passion. Luc is already projecting us into passion. Noting that the devil leaves to return “at the appointed time,” he forces us to project upon Christ's last temptation, when the devil returns to the end of the gospel and takes Judas. At Gesthemani, Jesus must overcome the ultimate temptation: escape from death and on the cross, do not use the all-power of God: “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. Say the soldiers; if you are the Messiah, save yourself and we also said one of the evil men.” Lk 23,37.39.
This account of temptation reveals to us the meaning of Christ's divinity.
Saint Luke is the only one who puts Jesus' genealogy between baptism and the narrative of temptation. He tells us that Jesus is the Son of God, but that he is also the son of David, the son of humanity. Jesus is king, messiah, true God and true man.
The temptation of Jesus reveals that Jesus is not going to use God's omnipotence to impose his will on the elements (1st temptation), the world (2nd temptation) or God (3rd temptation). No, Jesus will put himself on the path of a Messiah who borrows the omnipotence of the Word (1st temptation), the omnipotence of humility (2nd temptation) and the omnipotence of abandonment in the hands of God (3rd temptation). Jesus thus reveals the path he will take and which will lead him to the cross.
Yes, he is God, Son of God, but it is not the path of omnipotence that he will take, it is the path of abandonment, humility, humanity that he will follow.
This path taken by Jesus is also the path that we too have to take.
At baptism, we too became sons of God. We too are full of the Holy Spirit received on the day of confirmation. We too are immortal and entered eternal life. But the path that we must follow is the same path as Christ: that of humility, that of abandonment, that of almighty power to put oneself in the service of the Word, in the service of man. It is a path that refuses to impose one's law on God and men but passes through love and giving one's life for those we love.
Here, the path of Christ, this is the path of the Church and of the baptized. Are we still following him? Certainly not! But in this time of Lent, Saint Luke is there to remind us that if we want to be called sons of God, the only way that Christ has taken before us.
Alms, prayer and fasting are spiritual weapons that the believer has to resist the temptations of the devil. But above all we know that we cannot rely solely on our good intentions and the good resolutions adopted in the early days of Lent. We need to be, in the words of the Gospel, in the Spirit.
Father Christophe Hermanowicz
Presentation of street tours (maraudes)
Photos of the entry to Lent in Osny (copyright Père Christophe, SJSC)
Organ: At the Great Organ, Guy Didier
Works by G.F. Haendel transcribed for Organ
- Input: “Gigue”
- Offertory: “Fugue in B minor”
- Communion: “Sarabande”
- Output: “Passacaille”
Georg Friedrich Haendel
The other homilies of Father Christophe Hermanowicz
Also read: THE FIP of the week
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