During the Angelus, Pope Francis explained the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent. The three temptations are: greed for possession, human glory, and the exploitation of God. Jesus does not talk with Satan, but answers only with the Word of God. The pontiff mentioned Angelo Cuartas and eight fellow martyred seminarians, killed "out of hatred for the faith” at “a time of religious persecution”. Today Francis and the Roman Curia begin spiritual exercises.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The three temptations that Satan proposed to Jesus "indicate three paths" that give "the illusion of leading to success and happiness" but "without God", said Pope Francis in today's Mass as he commented the Gospel about the temptations (First Sunday of Lent, C, Luke 4, 1:13).
The pontiff listed and explained the three temptations to the tens of thousands of believers who had gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus.
The first one is "the path of greed for possession. This is always the devil’s insidious logic. He starts from the natural and legitimate need to feed oneself, live, seek fulfilment, be happy, and ends by pushing us to believe that all this is possible without God, indeed, even against Him."
The second is "the path of human glory. The devil says: ‘All this will be yours, if you worship me’ (Lk 4:7). One can lose all personal dignity, let oneself be corrupted by the idols of money, success and power, in order to reach self-affirmation. One enjoys the exhilaration of an empty joy that soon fades away. This is why Jesus replies: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve’ (Lk 4:8)".
The third temptation is "to exploit God for one’s own advantage. Against the devil who, invoking the Scriptures, invites him to seek a dazzling miracle from God, Jesus opposes again the firm decision to remain humble and confident before the Father: ‘It also says, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test” (Lk 4:12). Thus, he rejects perhaps the most subtle of temptations, that of seeking ‘to pull God to our side’, asking him for graces that actually serve to satisfy our pride."
"These are the paths that are set before us, with the illusion of being able to achieve success and happiness. In reality, they are completely foreign to God's way of doing things; on the contrary, they effectively separate us from Him, because they are Satan’s work. Jesus, facing such trials in person, beats temptation three times to fully adhere to the Father's plan.
“He shows us the remedies – inner life, faith in God, certainty of his love – that God is Father and with this certainty we shall beat the devil . . . Jesus does not talk with Satan, but only answers with the Word of God . . . Let us therefore take advantage of Lent, as a privileged time to purify ourselves, to experience the consoling presence of God in our life."
Following the Marian prayer, the Holy Father said that yesterday Angelo Cuartas and eight fellow martyred seminarians were proclaimed saints in Oviedo (Spain), killed out of hatred for the faith during the Spanish Civil War, "a time of religious persecution". The young men met their death between 1934 and 1937.
"These young candidates to the priesthood loved the Lord so much that they followed him on the way to the Cross,” said Francis. “Their heroic witness can help seminarians, priests and bishops to remain transparent and generous, to serve faithfully the Lord and the holy people of God."
Finally, “May the Lenten journey, that just begun, be rich in fruits,” the Pope said to all those present. He also called on them “to remember me and my aides in the Roman Curia in [their] prayers”, adding “this evening we will begin a week of spiritual exercises.”