Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the St. Joseph
St. Dominic Savio, Patron of Choirboys
First Sunday of Lent
Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies. — St Ambrose http://origin.ewtn.com/devotionals/inspiration.asp#9
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/030914.cfm
Reflection: Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he wishes to lead you? After Jesus’ was baptized by John the Baptist at the River Jordan, he withdrew into the wilderness of Judea – a vast and mostly uninhabitable wilderness full of danger. Danger from scorching heat by day and extreme cold at night, danger from wild animals and scorpions, plus the deprivation of food and the scarcity of water.
Why did Jesus choose such a barren, lonely place for an intense and long period of sustained prayer and fasting? Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us in their Gospel accounts that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. Mark states it most emphatically: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). What compelled Jesus to seek solitude, away from his family and friends, for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his mission? Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice someone to do what is wrong or forbidden. The scriptural word used here also means test in the sense of proving and purifying someone to see if there are ready for the task at hand. We test flight pilots to see if they are fit to fly under all conditions, including times of adverse turbulence, storms, and poor visibility. In like manner God tests his people to see if they are ready to follow and serve him without reservation or compromise.
Encountering God face to face
On many occasions God tested Abraham to prove his faith and to strengthen his hope in the promises that God made to him. Abraham obeyed willingly even when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son of promise. When the Israelites were sorely tested in Egypt for more than 400 years, they did not forget God. They kept God’s word and remembered his promise to save them. When God called Moses to free the Israelites from captivity in Egypt, God led them into the wilderness to his holy mountain at Sinai. There Moses ascended the mountain and met with God face to face for 40 days in prayer and fasting (Exodus 24:18). The prophet Elijah was also led on a 40 day journey to the holy mountain at Sinai to seek the face of God. God sustained Elijah with bread from heaven (1 Kings 19:8).
Jesus was no exception to this pattern of testing and preparation with prayer and fasting. He was led into the wilderness for 40 days without food or shelter to seek the face of his heavenly Father. When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise, he supplied them with everything they needed for abundant life and happiness with him. But when they listened to the voice of evil and followed the counsel of the serpent, who is the devil, they doubted God’s word and disobeyed his command They fell because they trusted in themselves rather than in God (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-6). They were cast out of Paradise and driven into the wilderness. Jesus now freely enters the wilderness in order to regain Paradise for the lost children of God. Jesus refuses food to show his dependence on the bread of heaven, the word of God, that would sustain him not only in his physical hunger, but in his hour of temptation as well. When Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus replies with the words of Scripture, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (quote from Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).
Where did Jesus find the strength to survive the desert’s harsh conditions and the tempter’s seduction? He fed on God’s word and found strength in doing his Father’s will. Satan will surely tempt us and he will try his best to get us to choose our will over God’s will. If he can’t make us renounce our faith or sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us, little by little, away from what God wants for us.
Strength from God in resisting temptation
Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame sin not by his own human effort but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him. He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father. He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. Luke says that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). When tempted by the devil Jesus did not try to fight his adversary on his own human strength. He relied on the power which the Spirit gave him. Jesus came to overthrow the evil one who held us captive to sin and fear of death (Hebrews 2:14). His obedience to his Father’s will and his willingness to embrace the cross reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His victory over sin and death won for us not only pardon for our sins but adoption as sons and daughters of God.
How can we overcome sin and gain freedom over our unruly desires and the lies of Satan and the world? The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26) and to be our guide and consoler in temptation and testing (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Lord gives grace to the humble who acknowledge their dependence on him (James 4:6) and he helps us to stand against the lies and attacks of our enemy, Satan, who seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8-10; Ephesians 6:10-18). The Lord Jesus is ever ready to pour out his Spirit upon us that we may have the strength and courage we need to resist sin and to reject the lies and deceits of Satan. God wants us to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) with the power and strength which comes from the Holy Spirit. Do you rely on the Lord for your strength and help?
“Lord Jesus, your word is life and joy for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/mar9.htm,www.dailyscripture.net Copyright@2014 Don Schwager
Saint of the Day: St. Dominic Savio, Patron of Choirboys (1842-1857)
So many holy persons seem to die young. Among them was Dominic Savio, the patron of choirboys.
Born into a peasant family at Riva, Italy, young Dominic joined St. John Bosco as a student at the Oratory in Turin at the age of 12. He impressed John with his desire to be a priest and to help him in his work with neglected boys. A peacemaker and an organizer, young Dominic founded a group he called the Company of the Immaculate Conception which, besides being devotional, aided John Bosco with the boys and with manual work. All the members save one, Dominic, would in 1859 join John in the beginnings of his Salesian congregation. By that time, Dominic had been called home to heaven.
As a youth, Dominic spent hours rapt in prayer. His raptures he called “my distractions.” Even in play, he said that at times “It seems heaven is opening just above me. I am afraid I may say or do something that will make the other boys laugh.” Dominic would say, “I can’t do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God.”
Dominic’s health, always frail, led to lung problems and he was sent home to recuperate. As was the custom of the day, he was bled in the thought that this would help, but it only worsened his condition. He died on March 9, 1857, after receiving the Last Sacraments. St. John Bosco himself wrote the account of his life.
Some thought that Dominic was too young to be considered a saint. St. Pius X declared that just the opposite was true, and went ahead with his cause. Dominic was canonized in 1954. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1318&calendar=1
More Saints of the Day
- St. Frances of Rome
- St. Anthony
- St. Bosa of York
- St. Catherine of Bologna
- St. Gregory of Nyssa
- St. Pacian
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram