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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 4:1-11

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.

REFLECTION: “If you are the Son of God...."

Three times the devil questioned the identity of Jesus in the desert. “If you are the Son of God...."

Everyday the devil asks us, "Prove to me that you are loved by God. Did He not just let you have cancer? Did He allow your son to be born handicapped? Was that your spouse who cheated on you? Was that friend of yours taunting and bragging about their lives? Why should you not have fun in this world? Why did God make you?"

And on and on, we hear the gentle but cunning words of the devil, filling up our minds with hate, doubt and worst of all asking God to prove to us that He loves us.

I find it hard to believe that someone like me would be loved unconditionally. The world tells you that to be one of the gang or to be called or invited, you must be a certain way, act a certain way and if not, well then, you are not part of that special group. The devil is so good in casting doubt about our relationship with God, our trust in His goodness and His love for us. Many times in the deserts of our problems we start believing that which the TV shows say is normal, or what we read in magazines, or see or read on social media; that unless we have a perfect life, unless we are "numero uno" in life, we just will not be loved. But God places no conditions for loving us.

We should never argue with the devil because He will outsmart us. Remember always, God gives us the means to live in His peace. We have priests that will give us the Sacraments, hear our confessions with absolution, advise and guide us and give us the Bread of Life in the Eucharist. Pray always for these priests that they can withstand the temptations of the devil. Prayer for Priests

God bless You


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