SATAN GETS A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE

February 18, 2018

 In today's Gospel, the evil Satan, who hates God and who hate each one of us confront Jesus in the desert. Evil against Good. Death against Life.

         Satan was successful once, but not this time. He had once tempted Adam and Eve. Satan had convinced Adam and Eve that they would be better off without God. Satan told Adam and Eve that God was jealous of them; that God had something to hide; and that God doesn't love you as much as you think.

Against a weak Adam, Satan won. Adam and Eve became prideful and they loved themselves more than God. “Take the apple, Satan said, “and then you can do whatever you want. You don't have to worry about God. You can decide what is right and what is wrong.” Adam and Eve thought about it day and night for a long time. They walked past the tree with the apple everyday. They began to doubt. They said,” I wonder why God doesn't want us to eat that apple.” They were tempted every night and every day.  They grew weary of resisting temptation, and they finally gave in. Adam and Eve didn't realize how good they had it. They had the Garden of Eden, a perfect world, but they thought it would be better without God. They thought it would be better on the other side.  So Satan won the battle, and we are left with original sin.

         In today's Gospel, Satan tries again. He gets a second bit at the apple. But, this time, Jesus wins the battle. Jesus defeats Satan, by successfully rejecting any temptation.

         God had tried to restore the broken relationship, but the human race keeps rejecting God. In the second reading today, it says that they were only eight people on Earth who were following God. It was Noah and his family. God tries to start over. The flood comes upon the earth, and now God put a rainbow in the sky as a sign of forgiveness, as a sign of reconciliation, as a sign of God's commitment to each one of us. But the rainbow wasn't enough. Each generation after Noah rejected God.

         Christianity is doing better today. Seventy-seven (77) percent of those in the United States identify themselves as Christian. The Catholic Church continues to proclaim the salvation of Jesus. We no longer have a rainbow as a sign of God's love. We now have the crucifix- a constant reminder the Jesus loves us, and even though we have rejected God, God still loves us.

To repent means to turn to God. During this Lenten season, we are called, to turn away from ourselves, and turn toward God. It is time for us to do something life-changing.

         This Lent can change the rest of our lives. Lent is not just about giving something up for 40 days.  It is about doing something for 40 days that may become a habit for the rest of our life.  Doing good; bringing people together; trying to reconcile or heal broken relationships; concentrating our prayers. It means not overly controlling our actions but our thoughts. If we can, we can use the opportunity  which Lent provides, to bring people together. Maybe, God is calling us to be peacemakers within our families. The time for that is now. There is an urgency in the Gospel.

         The violence which we hear in our society, especially with the news of the recent school shooting, tells us, clearly, that if we don't stay close to Christ, if we don't go to church, if we think that we have a better way, then violence will win. But if we know that Jesus has brought peace to the world; if we can believe the Jesus is the answer, and we should have no problem in telling others.

         We can stand up for Christ. We can reject any temptation to turn away from God, so that we may come to know that Jesus Christ is the savior of the human race, and has defeated evil.

         Then, we will come to know that Jesus wins!

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