Temptation is a part of daily life. While the devil means for it to be a stumbling block for us, it doesn’t have to be; and if we ask the right question when we feel it, it can actually bring us closer to God.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7
The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Scriptures for the First Sunday in Lent, Cycle A
Temptation has been a part of life since the first people lived on earth. God made sure that they had everything they wanted and needed, but they were tricked into thinking that God was withholding something from them. Of course, God wasn’t–everything that would make them happy already belonged to them–the only thing they were told to stay away from was what would make them feel bad.
St. Paul tells us that, while Adam and Eve’s sin was the beginning of temptation, and we allow it to continue, Jesus didn’t fall for it, and made it possible for us to resist it, too.
The Gospel says that the Holy Spirit sent Jesus into the desert so that he could be tempted. Why would God want Jesus to be tempted?! Because when we face temptation and defeat it, we grow stronger. Jesus was about to begin his public ministry, and he was going to have to do some very difficult things. The temptation was helpful for Jesus to know that no matter what happened, he would be able to fulfill his mission. He could just make everyone do his will, he could take the easy way out, and he could avoid death if he wanted to–but because he was able to resist the temptation then, he knew he would later, too. Now, we’re not supposed to look for temptation (see The Lord’s Prayer)–and it finds us well enough without us looking for it–but, we can conquer it by asking one question: why am I tempted by this thing? Temptation is a sign that you want something, but it tries to trick you into getting that thing the wrong way. Like Adam and Eve, the things that the devil offered Jesus already belonged to him. But, Jesus knew that there was a particular way and timing for his mission to be accomplished.We heard from the readings two weeks ago that everything God has, has been given to us–we don’t need to take things out of turn. The devil takes the good things that God made and offers them to us twisted, corrupt, and broken. When we listen to God, and to our hearts, we will always have what we need.
What things are you most tempted by? How can you make the temptation go away?
Temptation is a corruption of good things. Can you think of a couple of things that people are commonly tempted by, that, on their own, are not bad things? How does a thing go from being good to becoming bad?
This week, all around the world, Catechumens (adults and young people preparing for Baptism at Easter) will go to their Cathedrals for the Rite of Election. As an addition to your family’s Lenten prayer, find out who your Catechumens (they will be re-named Elect today) are and pray for them during your family prayer time.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”