The Devil offered three temptations to Christ in the desert and the world offers us those same temptations today. We must, like Jesus, reject what can appear so tantalizing.
This was the core message Pope Francis offered March 10, 2019, in his commentary on the day’s Gospel from the 4th chapter of Luke, the account of Christ’s temptations in the desert, which came after his fast of 40 days. The Holy Father’s comments came before praying the noonday Angelus with the crowds of pilgrims from around the world gather in St. Peter’s Square.
“The three temptations indicate three ways the world always proposes, promising great successes, three ways to deceive us: the avidity to possess — to have, have, have –, human glory, the instrumentalization of God,” Francis explained. “They are three ways that will lead us to ruin.”
The Pope went on to detail how each of the temptations is presented. First is the desire to have: “to eat, to live, to be fulfilled, to be happy.” Jesus rejects this by telling Satan that “Man shall not live by bread alone.”
Second is the temptation to glory: “the idols of money, success, and power, to attain one’s own self-affirmations.” This Jesus rejects by recalling what is truly worthy of worship: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”
Finally, there is the temptation to use God for one’s own ends: “asking Him for graces that in reality serve or will serve to satisfy our pride.” As with the other temptations, Jesus is firm in his rejection: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
“These are the ways put before us, with the illusion of being able to obtain in this way success and happiness,” Francis said. “However, in reality, they are altogether foreign to God’s way of acting. Rather, they, in fact, separate us from God, because they are the works of Satan. Jesus, facing these tests personally, overcomes temptation thrice to adhere fully to the Father’s plan. And He points out to us the remedies: the interior life, faith in God, the certainty of His love, the certainty that God loves us, who is Father, and with this certainty, we will overcome every temptation.”