First Sunday in Lent
February 26, 2023
Do you recall comedian Flip Wilson’s famous phrase: “The devil made me do it!”? That line hits home because we human beings often make excuses when we give in to temptation. But in reality no one “makes” us sin, we choose it just as we freely choose to do good.
Today’s Scriptures present Adam and Eve, faced with a choice for good or evil: They choose to reject God and give in to the temptation to “be like God”—in the words of the serpent-tempter. Another temptation scene comes in the Gospel. This time Jesus, facing the choice to accomplish his ministry in selfish, power-hungry ways, rejects the temptation and affirms his true identity as God’s Son.
Our Christian identity is a choice we affirmed–or which was affirmed for us–at our baptism. But we must re-affirm that choice again and again in the face of temptation. It’s fitting that the temptation scene in the Gospel is set in the desert. In the Bible, the desert is often a place of testing–of choices. The season of Lent is like a “spiritual desert” where we hope to rediscover our identification with Christ, leading to a renewal of baptism at Easter. Let our choices this Lent be directed by the example of Jesus in the face of temptation.