First Sunday of Lent

At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! (Mt. 4:1-11)

Have you ever wished that you could tell a pesty fly to "get away" from your food on a sunny day? Or how about nagging bees or troublesome mosquitoes swarming around? Don't you just wish that they would obey your command to "get away"? In your annoyance, you may say to these bothering insects, "Who invited you to the party?" When you think about these repeated interruptions, they are similar to our encounters with Satan. He's the master of trying to hinder our spiritual walk with Jesus. 

In Matthew's gospel, the spirit leads Jesus to the desert. Imagine Jesus wanting to say, "Who invited you, Satan?" Satan was a pestering insect in Jesus' prayer life. Scripture teaches that while in the desert for forty days, Satan tempted Jesus.  Can you envision  Satan bothering Jesus, with "Wonder Bread or Cresent rolls"? Or how about trying to influence a young adult Jesus into believing he is invincible?

Furthermore, what about Satan's invitation to Jesus to worship him and no other God? If Satan succeeds here, Jesus would be breaking the first commandment, "You shall not have other gods beside me." This commandment called for Israel's exclusive worship and allegiance. Satan is relentless!  Satan will never stop rattling the children of God. Satan does not ask for an invitation into your life.

The truth is Satan's number one job is to distract Christians in their prayer life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "The habitual difficulty in prayer is a distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer." (CCC 2729) Matthew's narrative of Jesus in the desert shows Satan trying to distract Jesus' prayer life. He remained with Jesus as long as he could before Jesus commanded him to "get away." Therefore, through our relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, we must say, similar to Jesus, "Get away Satan," during this Lenten Season. 

Author: Michael P. Howard, M.A.

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