04 Mar 2017

This Week Letter – March 5, 2017

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Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Let’s try, on the first Sunday of Lent, to rediscover the timeliness of today’s Gospel about the temptation of Jesus with regard to our personal and social life.

The first temptation aims at our desires and ambitions. It affects the most basic affairs and verifies our behavior to things and everything that we hold, consume or use to try to satisfy instincts. Physical hunger can become a great enemy of our salvation. We pretend to care about ourselves, while it enslaves us. This temptation also applies to our way of thinking. Here I am, a man. Thanks to technical progress, political or economical structures, I’m able to satisfy all my needs and desires, and even cravings.

The second temptation concerns power and control. This is a lure much more serious, because it validates our relationship with other people – to dominate over them, to have power, to impress or respect, to praise, and give notice only to those who may come in handy … How easy it is to say that this temptation will not affect me. The reality, however, is merciless. Even Jesus was subjected to such temptation. Satan – the enemy of God – is proposing “a job” of a ruler, a lord  of earthly kingdoms on the model of the greats of this world, who  “push their authority”. How often we see a terrible desire for domination and the belief that weak, lowly people without protection are not able to defend themselves and must become victims of the strong.

The third temptation is related to the demand that God meets our commands. This is the most dangerous of the temptations – warping our relationship to God. Man wants to command and puts requests to his Creator. Sometimes he is angry at God, he tests Him, exhorts Him, he demands that God provide him with success and be spared the hassle. One of the heaviest temptations is considering ourselves to be an advisor of the Lord God or telling Him what He should and should not do, demanding that He will serve or support us: “If you are God, show me … If you fail to meet my demands, then … I prayed, and you do not hear me … you did not do my will, so… you don’t exist. And since you don’t exist, that is to say, that I know what is best for me and I don’t need you.“

Let Lent become for us an unforgettable time of victory, time of salvation and liberation from the ultimate, our own captivity. As Leo the Great says: “not the reduction of food is the essence of our fasting. The starvation of the body is useless if the spirit does not give up all unrighteousness and the unrestrained tongue doesn’t stop slandering “.

God Bless You!