Jump to content

Pastor's Letter 20220306 - 06 March 2022 - The Profession of Faith

Recommended Posts


March 6th, 2022

First Sunday of Lent


Jesus is tempted by Satan

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  The Profession of Faith” 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

Today’s First reading (Deuteronomy 26:4-10,) is eminently suited for reading at Mass because it describes a liturgical ceremony—with written-in-rubrics.  It is the ceremony of offering of the “first fruits”—of the harvest, placed in a basket and taken to the shrine of Yahweh.  There, we hear the words of the priest: “Today, I declare to the Lord, your God, that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.”  Then, reading the creed, he cites Jacob (the wandering Aramean,”) and his descent into Egypt—no longer as an individual, but the nation of Israel.  This expresses an awareness that the Liturgy makes the saving event present, and brings the worshipper directly into it. 


Paul’s letter to the Romans shows us that faith is open to God’s future intervention and thus, brings us hope (Romans 10:8-13.)  In Jesus’ day, faith was not “open,” human traditions having been made the “yardstick” for the relevance of God’s Word.  They were not prepared to hear God’s Word spoken to them by/through Jesus.  In our recitation of the Nicene Creed at Holy Mass, we affirm Jesus as our Lord, and risen Savior, Who died for our sins and was raised for our justification.  This is our genuine faith, meant to proclaim our death to sin and life in accord with Christ’s “law,” a law of freedom (my episcopal motto….)  Faith is accessible to all who have heard the Gospel, without distinction of person, Jew, or non-Jew, rich or poor.   


In today’s Gospel, Luke relates Jesus’ temptation in the desert  (Luke 4:1-13.)  The three scenes depict Christ as a dutiful Son of the Father, unwilling to use His power or authority for any reason other than that for which He had been sent.  Jesus was tempted in every respect, just as we are, yet without sinning.  He redeemed us, as “one of our race,” as reasoned by God.  As a Man, He was to be “made perfect” through suffering, and “learn” God’s will for humankind.  Thereby, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.  In our temptations, we seek our own glory, even in religious matters: choosing the “easy way” and turning aside from suffering.  In them, we are enticed to turn away from suffering, and forget that the source of Christian life is found in the death and resurrection of Christ.     


All of us are weak and prone to evil.  This may be a disturbing truth, but it is one we ignore at our own peril.  The great problem of our time is our failure to know ourselves, to recognize evil and deal with it within ourselves.  Yet there is a kind of comfort and freedom in knowing and accepting this humbling truth.  

We have to struggle against evil that is in others and in society, but our hardest struggle is against evil inside us.  We are born with conflicting impulses, so that doing good is always possible…but never easy.  The most difficult victory of all is over oneself.

Jesus’ temptation was not “play-acting”—it was real.  People in all ages have been tempted to live for material things, alone; to seeking their glory, rather than God’s; and  abandoning the worship of God for the adoration of worldly power and fame.  

Nor was Jesus’ victory over Satan, “once and for all.”  He had won the battle, not the war.  He faced other attacks, which needed to be repelled.  The same is true for us—temptations are never over; they come at inopportune times, throughout our lives.  Some people think they should reach a stage when they will be beyond temptation.  Jesus never reached that stage, nor did any of the saints.  But we should take heart:  resisting temptation was not easy for Jesus; nor can it be for us.  But in Jesus, we have a Brother, Who knows what we face.  He forgives us, and raises us up when we fall.  He enables us to obey God’s Word, to trust Him, and to worship Him, alone.  

Basic Needs

Human beings don’t live on “bread alone.”  Bread is only one of the historic “staples” of life for the body.  (Today, in our modern world, many of us must resist eating “bread,” in its many forms, due to our collective struggles with carbohydrates/gluten, as well as all forms of sugars and starches.)  But to nourish a human being is not the same as to fatten cattle!  Our bodies need food, of course, but so do our souls. The story of Elvis Presley serves to illustrate this truth:

Elvis became very “rich,” by the standards of his time.  At the time of his death, he owned eight cars, six motorcycles, two airplanes, sixteen television “sets,” a vast mansion and several bulging bank accounts.  On top of all that, he was idolized by legions of fans.  Yet he wasn’t happy.  In the midst of all his wealth and success, he experienced a spiritual malaise, and complained of loneliness and boredom.  We are told that, early on, his mother simply wanted him to simply “come home, buy a furniture store, get married and have children.” 

In spite of all his material wealth, Elvis grew fearful and depressed.  At age 22, he found there were “no more worlds to conquer.”  This malaise could have been an opportunity—a stark reminder that “man does not live on bread alone,” that is, on material things, alone.  

We see this vital truth in modern society, although, in practice, it is not easy to “take it on board.”  Life on “bread alone,” cannot provide “living to the full,” and nourished as human beings and children of God. 

One might imagine parents who fed their child, but never spoke a word to them. (Rod Serling, of Twilight Zone fame, produced an episode with just this theme, as I recall.)  Without guidance, encouragement, affirmation, consolation—communication of peace, welcome, love or joy—a child’s body would be nourished, but their heart and soul would be empty!  

“Bread alone,” won’t always guarantee even physical survival.  We know of prisoners, kept in concentration camps, who, although fed ample “bread and water,” perished, nonetheless.  It’s not just the human body that gets hungry.  The human spirit needs to be fed, as well.  

Unless we also acknowledge and address our deeper hungers and greater needs, as well as our corporeal ones, we cannot be whole.  

From time to time, like Jesus, we may need to get away from normal life, and experience time for solitude and reflection.  We may not decide to “wander in the desert” for 40 days, of course, but we could find somewhere for reflection and meditation.  At times, when we become overwhelmed by life’s demands, a lonely place might be what is required.  Often, we might find ourselves living foolishly and un-spiritually, driven by desires and imprisoned by selfish habits.  Surrounded by noise and constant activity, we may find our priorities misaligned.  In that clamor, with all the pressures, there is no escape, no stillness.  It’s no wonder, then, that some people find themselves, like Elvis, unhappy and unfulfilled.  

That’s when we might discover that seclusion is the answer.  Solitude may afford us an opportunity to find the spiritual “bread” we need to find our place with God, and accept full responsibility for our lives.  A hermit goes into the desert, not to lose himself, but to find himself.  There we meet our demons, our addictions, our lust, our anger and our need for recognition and approval. 

We don’t go “into the wilderness” to escape from others, either, but to find them through prayerful meditation.  Thomas Merton once said: “Only in solitude and silence can I find the gentleness with which I can love my brothers and sisters.”    Such spiritual nourishment may lead us to a deeper, and more meaningful, living of the Christian life.  

  May God Richly Bless You!

"It is through temptation that we come to know ourselves.  We cannot win our 'crown' unless we overcome [them;]

"We cannot overcome unless we enter the contest; and there is no contest unless we have an enemy and the temptation he brings."

~~St. Augustine~~

What Does the Lord Require?.docx

To view a video of today's Holy Mass, click here:  


Edited by Father Michael
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...