Gospel Reflections

1st Sunday of Lent

Luke 4:1-13

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary Cluderay

Published: March 10, 2019

Read Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted... Read More…

Today’s Gospel brings to us a wonderful experience of how the mind of Jesus developed over the years in between his infancy and adult life. In one sense we can find an important link in the words he addressed to Mary and Joseph as they told him of their anguish for three days of searching for him. “Why were you looking for me?  Didn’t you know that I had to be on my Father’s business?”

He returns to Nazareth and “advanced in wisdom and stature and favour before God and human beings” while choosing to live under the authority of Mary and Joseph.  The climax is reached when Jesus is baptized, and while he is praying, “Heaven was opened and a voice came from Heaven.......You are my Son, the Beloved.

It is soon after this experience that “Jesus full of the Holy Spirit was led by the Spirit into the desert.”

The emphasis in this account of St. Luke is the fact that the strength and power of the Holy Spirit is uppermost.  One translation speaks of the Spirit “hurling” Jesus into the wilderness. Although we are startled by the use of this dramatic word as it is expressed in the original Greek, I believe that we are being given an awareness of Jesus’ need to be sustained by the strength of the Holy Spirit as he accepts solitude and hunger for forty days. Through the temptations of Satan, we see Jesus praying his way to find his Father’s will as he makes the choices in reply to Satan.

This surely is a unique moment for us too as we follow Jesus through our daily lives.  For us too we are given the indescribable presence of the Holy Spirit opening to us the call to follow Jesus ever more closely as each day unfolds.

We see Jesus then alone and weak as he is offered spurious ways to achieve fame.  We know that he has already experienced acclaim for his eloquence and understanding of the Scriptures and for his gifts of healing in encounters with large numbers.  There were already signs of the crowds following Jesus for these reasons. Satan suggests an easy way of continuing to achieve miracles by changing stones into bread, or by expecting the angels to guard him if he leaps from the Temple pinnacle as a proof of his Divinity, and finally, if he gives subservience to Satan in order to command the whole world.

It is through these temptations that Jesus shows us how he is finding his way to reveal God to all mankind as he being found in human form begins to understand the essence of his Father.  Later we shall hear him say:
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father other than through me.”
Jesus’ final words to Satan show us how he has overcome the temptations:
Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”

We see that Jesus is stronger because of the Temptations, and in the same way are we.  Christ through his Incarnation has not only showed us how to deal with temptations, he has actually won the battle for himself and for us. Jesus took our flesh, experienced our death for all mankind:
God made perfect through suffering the One who will take us to our salvation.”  Hebrews 2:8-10
Jesus goes before us to show us how he was “tempted in every way but did not sin.”

Our Glimpse brings us Joy from beginning to end as we see in the opening lines:  May we too be filled and led by the Holy Spirit.

Final reflection:
O loving wisdom of our God
When all was sin and shame
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.
O wisest love that flesh and blood
Which did in Adam fail.
Should strive afresh against the foe
Should strive and should prevail.

(words of Blessed John Henry Newman}

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