06 The Great Combat - Fr. Lawrence A D'Souza

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:05 AM ]
Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

In the First Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to enter into the "Great Combat", as Luke depicts it when Jesus is tempted by the devil in the desert.

The story of the temptation follows the Gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus, in which the mystery of death and Resurrection, sin and redemption is prefigured. Being submerged in the river is a symbolic representation of the process of death. An old life is buried, so that a new one can arise. Because Jesus Himself is without sin and has no old life to bury, His acceptance of Baptism is an anticipation of the Cross, whereby He begins to share in our lot and to take upon Himself our sins and our death.


After forty days of fasting, Jesus was hungry. The basic bodily need for nourishment becomes the point of departure for the Temptation. But something else is hidden there too. The First and the Third Temptations begin with the phrase, "If you are the Son of God…" We will hear this phrase again from those who taunted Our Lord at the foot of the Cross: "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Mt 27:40). That is mockery, but at the same time, a challenge – Christ should go about proving His claim, if He is to be believed. And we too make the same demand of God and Christ and His Church throughout the course of history: "If you exist, O God, then show yourself… If you Christ are truly the Son of God, part the clouds that conceal you and give us the clarity..."