March 12, 2011

1st Lent - A


Matthew 4: 1-11

Sons and Daughters of God

The temptations of Jesus take place in the desert. This detail brings to mind the temptations of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness.

The Old Testament refers to Israel as the son of God (for example, Hosea 1:11) [1].

Israel often failed when it was tested.

In contrast, not only does Jesus not fail the test, he also shows how the true Son of God lives.

The devil's challenges twice begin with "if you are the Son of God." By the third time, though the words are not repeated, the context suggests that the test has the same nature.

And each time, the Son of God responds not with "if" but why he is the Son of God.

First, the Son of God does not use his power for self-advancement or interest. Later on in the Gospel, he will use his power to make bread and feed the hungry crowd. But he would not do that to satisfy his own needs. In addition, his true need is already satisfied by "every word that comes forth from the mouth of God."

Second, the Son of God places his total trust in the Father. He would not follow the devil's manipulation of God's words [2]. He simply trust. Moreover, his words are the words of God guiding and nourishing God's people. Again, nothing is used for his own interest.

The third test is the ultimate one. To whom does the Son of God pledge his allegiance? Jesus' answer is quite clear, "Get away, Satan!" His life will reach its fullness when out of obedience to the Father's will, he gives up his own life. That is the extent of his worship of service of the Father.

There is the progression of Jesus' sonship: knowing the Father's love and care, he places his total trust in the Father. This enables him to worship and serve God alone, no matter the cost.

[1] Daniel J. Harrington, SJ. The Gospel of Matthew, Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 66.
[2] Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year A. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1992; p. 87.

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