The Second Temptation
Today’s Gospel we hear every third year on the First Sunday of Lent but it may have more to say to us now than in previous years. The reason? We are living the second of the three temptations.
Hear this homily as it was delivered
If you look carefully, you will notice that of the three temptations the second is unique. In the first and the third, the Devil simply asks Jesus to prove his divinity. Our lord declines using bible verses to show that he would be compromising who he is if he did. Either he would be tempting God or showing a lack of trust and indeed both passages reflect a lack of trust. It is the second however that is most important. In the second temptation notice that the Devil says to Jesus that all the worldly political powers have been given to him and Jesus does not deny it.
Exorcists will tell you that those who engage in political power are most susceptible to the Devil’s tactics.
So when the Devil says that these powers are in his hands he although is the Father of lies may be telling the truth. This is why we must be careful not to mix the Gospel with politics. It not only waters down the gospel it may also corrupt it. Hence why I am careful not to tell you who to vote for. I may say after an election that I wish someone ran or won but that is after the fact.
So many people said that a good Catholic will vote for one candidate or another. However, a good Catholic will vote for whomever will do what is best for the common good. There was a Catholic man on Twitter who wrote how he did not care what happened in The Ukraine because it does not affect him and his family. He obviously does not understand our faith. If we do what is best for the common good then we do find ourselves concerned about what happens in other countries.
However, there is something else. For the past twenty years, there has been a move in this country to silence the Catholic Church, we all know it and the playbook used is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals which calls for destroying the Church by using her sins against her. This is what has happened.
When I stood up for the Church, I was not taking the attitude of my church right or wrong, instead, we knew what would be the outcome of silencing the church so we were fighting not against people trying to silence the church but against those principalities and powers seeking to use them unwittingly to destroy all.
Now see what is happening? People today may be even some in this congregation are afraid of nuclear war, which personally I do not think will happen. How did we get here?
Let us look at the temptation. The Devil demands that Jesus worship him and he will give him all the power in the world. The Devil tempts you by telling you the truth but not the whole truth. So, Jesus being the one who holds all worldly power only works if everyone willfully submits to it. When they don’t then he has to enforce this worldly power and further divide the world. However, what Jesus does is reject the devil's temptation and continue inviting people to His kingdom which transcends all worldly power. We do not represent the kingdom of the World, we represent a much higher entity the Kingdom of God.
Worldly power works through force, God’s power works through love. So, if Jesus succumbed to the Devil’s temptation he would have exchanged the force of love for a lie. Love would have succumbed to force and the unity of love would have succumbed to the force of obedience at the point of a gun.
However, others have done exactly that. Again the mission was to destroy the Church and replace it with political power—literally the Devil’s temptation and what happens. The Devil then causes division.
Look at what is happening. We have a war in Eastern Europe and people are taking precautions against the possibility of a nuclear war. These are just humans and humans act in a humanly way.
Without deference to Christ, they will act in ways similar to what the devil wants force causing division even with the best intentions and desires. Humans can only work within human limits and understanding.
The fruits of the work of many people trying to silence the voice of the Church are now reaching the harvest. However, remember something, you are still here. You have a call to live the Gospel. Many who left the Church for one reason or the other would not have what it takes to be the witnesses all Catholics have a calling to be. You have a special calling and now more than ever your prayers for the Lord to show you the way are more important.
If you are returning to the Church because it is Lent, I cannot emphasize the need to take seriously God’s call. As for the rest of you, you know how important it is the live the Gospel and now more than ever. For this time you were called.