Life & Liberty




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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Journey 2011 - March 15, 2011 - Presenter: Fr. Antonio O Moreno - Week 7: With Jesus in the desert

(Received in email)

Knight of Columbus Bible Study
Tuesday 7:00 p.m.
K. C. Hall Hwy 90 - Del Rio, Texas

Opening prayer/ Psalm 24

By the forty days of Lent the Church unites herself to the mystery of Jesus in the desert

Temptation = an attraction either from outside or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the Commandments of God. Jesus himself during his life was tempted, to manifest opposition between himself and the devil and the triumph of his saving work over Satan.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

CCC 538 Jesus rebuffs Satan’s attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam and Eve in Paradise and of Israel in the desert.

CCC 539 Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had give in to temptation. Jesus fulfills Israel’s vocation perfectly; in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert. Jesus Christ reveals himself as God’s servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devils’ conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder. (Psalm 95: 10; Mark 3: 27) Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love of the Father.

CCC 540 Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him.

Scripture Meditation
Genesis 2:7 – 3:7
God’s action

1. God formed man out of the clay of the ground

--God is the creator he formed man, he created him.

--clay of the ground = men is the same substance in all of creation.

--blew in his nostrils = the creator give life to the creature, men in particular received life through the breath of God. The breath is God’s spirit-men’s soul. Without the breath of God, men would have no life.

--so men became a living being = to be living is to have God’s life within us. To be dead is to reject the breath of God.

2. Lord God planted a garden in Eden

--God in his love is willing to share his goodness = the pagan gods were revivals of men. The God of Genesis establishes a relationship/a partnership with his creature. We are called into God’s house.

--The Lord God provided man and women all that they needed = all the trees and plants

--Tree of life and Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil = the tree of life is a symbol of immortality (as long as Adam and Eve are in the garden they are immortal – death has no power over them). Tree of the knowledge of good and evil – God has created humanity and has placed limits upon human activity. God alone can be the objective standard of good and evil. Presence of evil is due to human decision to oppose God’s command.


--most cunning of all the animals (cunning=craftiness, adeptness/charmingly cute)

1. “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”

--through charming speech and craftiness the snake uses a question to place doubt on the heart of the women. “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.”

--the temptation is for the women to not only began to doubt God’s love for her, but now, the snake takes her deeper into her doubt and proposes that she be free from God who is an oppressor for restricting her choices. Independence and freedom become the battle cry of the snake.

--the serpent insinuates that God has some ulterior motive for the command. That God is keeping something for himself.

Sin = disobedience, disobedience rooted in the heart. Satan leads Adam and Eve to doubt God, to see in him a jealous rival whose law prevents them from living a full life.

Sin is not born of the attraction of the forbidden fruit, but of a perversion within oneself of God’s image, of the nature and intent of the divine law.

Gospel of Saint Matthew 3:13-4:1-11

Jesus public activity begins with his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist.

Decent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus, which concludes the baptismal scene, is to be understood as a kind of formal investiture of Jesus with the messianic office.

The Temptation of Jesus – Saint Matthew 4:1-11

The Holy Spirit’ first command led Jesus into the desert “…to be tempted by the devil.”

Desert = the drama of human existence, for that belongs to Jesus’ core mission – it is a descent into the perils besetting mankind in order to lift up fallen humanity. Jesus must enter the depth of the desert in order to find the “lost sheep” to bear it on his shoulders, and to bring it home. The desert is the opposite image of the garden. Jesus converts the desert into a place of reconciliation and healing. It is in the desert that Jesus enters into solidarity with sinners.

The temptations are a reflection of the struggle in his mission. Apostles’ Creed states the “He descended into hell (the dead).” – Jesus is able to enter into our human perils and be victorious.

The heart of all the devils temptation on the human is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matter that fill our lives.

First Temptation

1. Jesus "fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards was hungry" (Matthew: 4:2)

The number 40 is filled with rich symbolism for Israel. It recalls Israel’s forty years wandering in the desert, a period in which the people were both tempted and enjoyed a special closeness to God. 40 days and 40 nights reminds us of the forty days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai before he was privileged to receive the word of God (10 Commandments), the sacred tables of the covenant. Abraham spent 40 days and nights on the way to mount Horeb, where he was to sacrifice his son.

2. “If you are the Son of God” (Matthew 4:3)

We will hear these words again in the mouths of the mocking bystanders at the foot of the cross (Matthew 27:40). Mockery and temptation blend into each other. Christ being challenged to establish his credibility by offering evidence for his claims – a demand of proof! As Christians are we to feed the world? Later in the Gospel of Matthew we encounter Jesus feeding the 5,000. Why does Jesus now do the very thing he had rejected as a temptation before? The crowds have left everything in order to come hear God’s word. The devil is not interested in God’s word. The crowd has opened their hearts to Jesus and one another. The devil has no heart! The crowd is ready to receive the “Bread of Life” with the proper disposition. “Men does not live by bread alone but…by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Deuteronomy 8: 3)

Second Temptation

The devil cites Holy Scripture in order to lure Jesus into his trap. He quotes Psalm 91: 11. The second temptation takes the form of a dispute between two Biblical scholars. The devil presents himself as a theologian. The devil wants to put Jesus to the test and make him question himself – are you the Son of God? We must trust that God is with us.

Third Temptation

The kingdom of God is different from the kingdoms of the earth and their splendor, which Satan parades before Jesus. The temptation is to use power to secure one’s position. Example of this wrong use of power is to compare Jesus and Barabbas. The two were claimed as Messianic figures. Barabbas (Hebrew = Bar - Abbas – son of the father) is a messiah who leads an armed struggle, promises freedom and a kingdom of one’s own. Jesus proclaims if we die to self and repent we enter the Kingdom of God.