Today we are launching our new message series, which will carry us through the season of Lent and all the way to Easter. We are going to take a critical look at our lives and try to answer this important question, “What on earth am I here for?” Of course, the penny or simple catechism of the Catholic Church has an answer to this question. It says, “God made us to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world, and be happy with him forever in the next.”
But in this series we will try to explore beyond the basics of the penny catechism in trying to answer the important question on the “Why” from the book The Purpose-Driven Life. There are a few different approaches to find an answer to this question of the “why.”
These approaches include introspection, that is, looking within oneself to find an answer. A second approach involves speculation, or looking to others to find an answer. The third option, self assertion, suggests that there are no answers and our purpose simply is self-determined.
In this first Sunday of Lent we want look at one of the stumbling blocks we have or experiences in our lives that keep us away from answering the question of why I am here. Giving in to temptation has kept a lot us from trying to answer the question of actually fulfilling our God-given purpose in life. Saint James writes: “Happy is the man or woman who doesn’t give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterwards he will get as his reward the crown of life that God has promised those who love him” (James 1:12).
On the part of spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as easy to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing. Temptation simply provides the choice. While temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you. We can overcome temptation using a few steps:
1. Refuse to be intimidated. Don’t be intimidated or demoralized by tempting thoughts. You are not beyond temptation but you can overcome temptation.
2. Recognize your pattern of temptation and be prepared. There are certain situations that make you more vulnerable to temptation than others. When you identify these, you can make efforts to avoid them.
3. Request God’s help. Heaven has a 24/7 emergency hotline. God wants you to ask him for assistance in overcoming temptation. He says, “Call on me in times of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me.”
Jesus overcame the most excruciating temptation from the devil today in our gospel, and, if we call on him in our time of need, he will come to help us win the battle.
—Fr. Celestine Tyowua, Parochial Vicar
Father Roger Gustafson