In this Sunday’s Gospel we read that the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. This was the same Holy Spirit who had encouraged Jesus when He was baptized in the Jordan River. At that time, the Spirit descended upon him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven was heard, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Mk. 1:11). However, as we can see in today’s passage, Jesus did not begin his ministry immediately after his baptism. First, He had to learn more about the cunningness of the devil, who would tempt in every way he could. One temptation was to live a more comfortable life. Why not marry, have children, and build an elaborate estate to live in? Furthermore, since Jesus was an excellent speaker, why not persuade people to join him and even form an army to overthrow the cursed Romans? Come to think of it, why not impress everyone by performing great miracles? Surely, none of these things were wrong in themselves. Besides, He could still continue his preaching and missionary works. He could also live longer and be able to work even more miracles. Why not?

But Jesus knew the Father’s plans were much different. And that – doing what the Father wanted him to do – could not be compromised. Instead, He determined to do the Father’s will regardless of the sacrifices that could be demanded. According to Matthew, after Jesus was tempted, “angels came and ministered to him” (4: 11). Mark, however, says that even while he was being tempted, angels assisted him (1: 15). Which version is more acceptable? Mark’s seems closer to our experiences. This is to say, temptations can beset us at any time, even when we are doing our best and are trying to please God. And, surely, that is what Jesus experienced. Even when he was working his miracles, he was tempted to extol himself rather than God. But Jesus overcame every temptation by constantly lifting his heart up to the Father in PRAYER.

This is the lesson: aware of the devil’s attempts to lure us away from God, we continuously prepare our hearts through our prayers and good deeds. This is how Jesus conquered the devil. It is what we too, must do in order to achieve the same end.

#30 A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: ”Why do you look so sad and gloomy?” “I‘m going to the bank to pay my loan.” “Be happy, give them your best smile.” “I tried that last time, but they want either check or cash.”

This Monday Washington’s Birthday is observed. To some states it is a non-working holiday. For your friendly reminder: Every Friday in Lent are abstinence days for adults and children who are able do it. Good Friday is the only remaining day for fasting. Know this good deed. It is one of the best ways to avoid the temptations of the devil. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin.

Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie