It is said that certain items are “rust-proof.” Other things are billed as either “dust-proof” or “spill-proof” or “bullet-proof” or “child-proof” or “scratch-proof.” But here’s something which no human being ever has been or ever will be: “temptation-proof.”
Temptations are luring. They present us with a seeming good we do not presently have but want. Without a lure, temptations do not exist. Temptations always lure us to a false good.
In our Gospel today, Jesus is faced with three perceived goods. And each temptation put to Jesus involved some misguided personal gain – power, prestige and possessions. By resisting the temptations, Jesus shows us that our true gain is not in satisfying ourselves but in something better – utter fidelity to God.
Temptations are not an indication of sin, rather, they are occasions for us to show that our lives are turned to God. In resisting temptations, we are choosing who we want to be – those who faithfully serve God by doing good for others.
Lent is a focused time to grow in holiness and transformation; it is a time to take the test of who we want to be. We don’t have to go out to the desert to find temptation. But we do need God’s nearness to resist it. And that God has promised us.