I am continuing to write a message in the absence of Father Kuzma who is beginning the second half of his time away in Florida. Fr. Francis had laser surgery on his left eye and has recovered very well; thank God, Our Lady, the saints and you for your prayers. May God bless Fr. Kuzma, Fr. Francis and all parishioners needing healing.
On the First Sunday of Lent, the Scriptures address the source of evil and sin through temptations from the devil and the need for the wisdom and power of God to defeat temptations. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote that the loss of the consciousness of sin was the greatest threat to humanity and to the world. Pope Benedict XVI – may he rest in peace – wrote that the loss of belief in the existence of the devil, God’s arch enemy and ours too, is what causes the loss of consciousness of sin and the need for a Saviour. In his encounter with the devil in the desert, our Blessed Lord overcame the three ultimate kinds of temptation and therefore gave us the means of overcoming them.
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” The Lord replied; “.... man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Extremely hungry after fasting for forty days, Jesus did not break his commitment to fast. Pampering oneself with creature comforts (food, entertainment) is very addictive and undermines one’s desire to pray and love God from the heart. We cannot indulge in worldly pleasures and hunger for the Word of God in the Eucharist at the same time. Since all the saints fasted, we also need daily sacrifices to persevere and to spend more time with Scriptures to love God more.
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down .... angels ... will bear you up ....” The Lord said “.... do not put the Lord your God to the test.” How often do we place ourselves in situations that tempt us to sin? Showing off, gossiping, driving dangerously, sinful media and shows, window shopping, etc. The saints tried to do everything for the glory of God, accepted humble tasks, illnesses, ridicule, limitations, shunned being praised and served others lovingly.
“All these (kingdoms) I will give you, if you fall down and worship me.” Jesus said ... “Away with you Satan! .... Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” What are we willing to give up and to suffer in order to serve only God? Many persecuted Christians are losing everything, even their lives for their faith. Let us pray for the humility, love and courage to serve God about all things. I love the Lord’s promise that not one hair on your head shall be lost.
May God’s call to deny ourselves in order to resist temptations inspire us to embrace with a positive attitude the great season of Lent to become more like our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you and Our Lady, Saint Joseph, the Angels and the Saints protect and guide you always.
Fr. Luc (Retired Priest)