St. Peter's Square
I Sunday of Lent, 10 March 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this first Sunday of Lent (cf. Lk 4: 1-13) narrates the experience of the temptations of Jesus in the desert. After fasting for forty days, Jesus is tempted three times by the devil. He first invites him to turn a stone into bread (v. 3); then he shows him the kingdoms of the earth from above and promises to become a powerful and glorious messiah (verses 5-6); finally he leads him to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem and invites him to throw himself down, to manifest his divine power in a spectacular way (verses 9-11). The three temptations indicate three paths that the world always proposes promising great successes, three ways to deceive us: the greed of possession - having, having, having -, human glory and the exploitation of God. These are three roads that will lead us to ruin. .
The first, the road of greed for possession. This is always the insidious logic of the devil. He starts from the natural and legitimate need to feed, to live, to be fulfilled, to be happy, to push us to believe that all this is possible without God, even against Him. But Jesus opposes saying: "It is written:" Man will not live by bread alone "» (v. 4). Recalling the long journey of the chosen people through the desert, Jesus affirms that he wants to abandon himself fully to the providence of the Father, who always takes care of his children.
The second temptation: the path of human glory. The devil says: "If you fall in adoration before me, everything will be yours" (v. 7). One can lose all personal dignity, one lets oneself be corrupted by the idols of money, success and power, in order to reach self-affirmation. And one takes pleasure in the exhilaration of an empty joy that soon fades away. And this also leads us to make "peacocks", vanity, but this fades. This is why Jesus replies: "Only to the Lord your God will you bow down, he alone will worship" (verse 8).
And then the third temptation: to exploit God for his own advantage. To the devil who, quoting the Scriptures, invites him to seek from God a striking miracle, Jesus again opposes the firm decision to remain humble, to remain confident before the Father: "It has been said:" You will not test the Lord your God. "» (V. 12). And so it rejects the perhaps more subtle temptation: that of wanting to "pull God on our side", asking him for graces that actually serve and will serve to satisfy our pride.
These are the paths that are set before us, with the illusion of being able to achieve success and happiness. But, in reality, they are completely foreign to God's way of acting; in fact, they separate us from God, because they are the work of Satan. Jesus, facing these trials in the first person, wins the temptation three times to fully adhere to the Father's plan. And he shows us the remedies: the inner life, the faith in God, the certainty of his love, the certainty that God loves us, that he is Father, and with this certainty we will overcome every temptation.
But there is one thing, on which I would like to draw attention, an interesting thing. Jesus in answering the tempter does not enter into dialogue, but responds to the three challenges only with the Word of God. This teaches us that with the devil one does not dialogue, one must not dialogue, only one responds with the Word of God.
Let us therefore take advantage of Lent, as a privileged time to purify ourselves, to experience the consoling presence of God in our lives.
The maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, an icon of fidelity to God, sustains us on our journey, helping us always to reject evil and to welcome good.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
yesterday in Oviedo, Spain, the seminarians Angelo Cuartas and eight fellow martyrs were killed, hated by faith in a time of religious persecution. These young aspirants to the priesthood loved the Lord so much, to follow him on the way of the Cross. Their heroic witness helps the seminarians, the priests and the bishops to remain clear and generous, to faithfully serve the Lord and the holy people of God.
I extend a cordial greeting to families, parish groups, associations and to all the pilgrims who came from Italy and from different countries. I greet the students of Castro Urdiales (Spain) and the faithful from Warsaw; like those of Castellammare di Stabia and Porcia. I greet the Little singers of Pura (Switzerland), the boys of the deanery of Baggio (Milan), those of the profession of faith of Samarate, the confirmers of Bondone and of Paullo, the youth of Verona and the students of the school "Emiliani" of the Fathers Somaschi of Genoa.
I wish everyone that the Lenten journey, recently begun, will be rich in fruits; and I ask you a remembrance in prayer for me and for the collaborators of the Roman Curia, that this evening we will begin the week of Spiritual Exercises.
Have a nice Sunday! Good lunch! And goodbye!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican va - Unofficial Translation