March 9, 2014

The Gospel Today 

First Sunday of Lent

Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.

Reflection (Sem. Julius de Gracia):

Half Truths is not the way of God

     The tactics of the devil ever since is to mix up everything so that is would create confusion to choose the good. The formula is simple 50% truth + 50% lie = deception. That is the very formula of the devil since the time of Adam and Eve. We are inherently good because we came from the Eternal Good which is God.

     In our gospel today we hear and witness the very temptation of Jesus by the devil, and it becomes a good news because our great teacher and Lord Jesus Christ remains steadfast to his mission and identity as the Son of the Father in heaven, even if the devil devices its ancient tactics, it has no avail of the power and nature of Jesus. It’s the formula of Jesus “stick to the mission and obey” we are like marines in this spiritual battle wherein our focus should be the completion of our mission that is to be with God in his kingdom, triumphing with God into all the obstacles and temptations there is.

     The devil says to Jesus; “If you are the Son of God…(Mt. 4:3) 50% truth- for truly Jesus is the Son of God) but here is the other half of the formula the 50% lie, “turn this stones into bread”, (Mt. 4:3) and it goes in the 2nd temptation, “throw yourself down for God will send his angels to rescue you (Mt. 4:6) and so it goes on. But Jesus as both God and man answers and through it he is teaching us that God is the Pure Truth and falsity has no room for God, for it is against his nature. Plain and simple; Yes man will be hungry, but man is not defined but what he feels and what he needs it is what he is for, and that is “man is for God.” Thus, Jesus said; “Man does not live by bread alone

     When God promised faithfulness he is, no buts and ifs, when he promised forgiveness of sins against our guilt and shame God will grant it for God is a faithful, loving and Merciful God.

     That is why brothers and sisters, if you are sick now God promised you of healing and wholeness. If you are in doubt you will be secured, if you are sinful you will be forgiven, if you are persecuted you will be defended and if you the world see’s you a loser because of heaven then rejoice for the promise of heaven will be yours today and forever.

     In Jesus we have a God who is all the days of our lives ever faithful and true, no buts and if’s, no half-truths but only a single truth- God loves you and me, nothing more and nothing less. Amen.

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