First Sunday of Lent - Year A
"... through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous" (Rm 5,19)
Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604), Pope, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospel, no. 14 (trans. ©Cistercian publications)
"Just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous" (Rm 5,19)
If we look at the progress of our Lord's temptation, we see how great the struggle was that set us free. from temptation. Our ancient enemy rose up against the first human being, our ancestor, in three temptations. He tempted him by gluttony, by vain glory and by avarice... He tempted him by gluttony when he showed him the forbidden food of the tree, and told him: “Taste it.” He tempted him by vain glory when he said, “You will be like gods” (Gn 3,5). He tempted him by adding avarice when he said: “knowing good and evil.” Avarice is concerned not only with money but also with high position...
But the means by which the devil overcame the first Adam (1Cor 15,47) were the same ones which caused him to yield when he tempted the second. He tempted him by gluttony when he said, “Tell these stones to become bread.” He tempted him by vain glory when he said, “If you are the son of God, cast yourself down.” He tempted him by an avaricious desire for high position when he showed him all the kingdoms of the world, saying: “I will give you all these if you will fall down and worship me”... As a captive the devil would depart from our hearts by the same avenue which had given him entrance when he possessed us.
But there is something else we have to consider too in this temptation of the Lord's...: he could have plunged his tempter into the depths. He did not reveal the power of his might, but he only brought forth the precepts of Scripture. This was to give us an example of his patience, so that as often as we suffer something from vicious persons we should be aroused to teach rather than to exact revenge. Consider how great God's patience is, how great our impatience! If we are provoked by injuries, or by some attack, we are influenced by rage...; the Lord endured the devil's opposition, and he answered him with nothing except words of meekness.
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