Bro. Jerson Hiponia
The temptation is part of Christian life’s struggle. It is the weapon of the devil to attract the People of God into rebellion: turning away from the source of life and falling into sin. The temptation of the devil is always a test of one’s faith and obedience to God. When honed and strengthened, faith and obedience are weapons to resist temptation.
The book of Genesis illustrates, through the figure of Adam and Eve, how the state of one’s faith and obedience to God spell either life or death in the face of temptation. We gather from their story that weak faith and obedience lead human beings to the trap of sin. Put that side by side with today’s Gospel, Luke 4:1-13, and we see a great contrast. The Devil tempted Jesus by presenting and offering him all the power and riches on earth. In exchange, he wanted worship and adoration, usurping what belongs rightly to God alone. But Jesus is steadfast in His faith and obedience to God the Father. He was never attracted to what the devil offered. He knew power and riches far greater than what the world can offer.
Human experience shows that we too have to confront this temptation. The material world continues to dangle this temptation, ready to devour us and displace our faith and obedience to God with what is incapable of fulfilling our humanity. Modern society caters to human longing to be in control, to be happy, content, and satisfied but delivers only lies. People often buy and fall into the lure of these empty promises.
We now enter the election period as a nation. We are now witnessing a parade of politicians putting on friendly, caring and happy faces. They sing and dance to entertain to win our attention. They reach out for us, shake our hands, embrace us as if we were their long lost friends. Most of them present utopian dreams that will feed our collective dreams for a better life, and promise us power and riches like the devil. They proclaim that they shall serve the poor, address our basic needs, solve our problems and so on. They even use the sexual scandal in the Church, a deep wound in the Body of Christ, to advance their interest by denouncing priests and bishops, including the Pope. They spread biased and destructive statements in order to tempt the Christian community to turn their back against the Church, and therefore erode its influence on the people.
These temptations test our faith and obedience to God. We should remember, however, that Jesus was subjected to the same temptations and came out of it victorious! In the same manner, in this season of Lent, Jesus is calling us to be steadfast and to strengthen our faith and obedience to God. These will be our weapons to stand triumphantly in the midst of all the temptations of evil around us.