"Qui legit, intelligat" Sunday Sermons (40229qui.htm)


February 29, 2004
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
vol 15, no. 60

The Church's Temptation in the Desert
Humble prayer and penance in denial of self are the best potion to stave off the serpent's venom combined with a thorough knowledge of what Holy Mother Church has always taught; not the new religion of Vatican II that has denied His Word, and, in effect, given in to the temptations of the devil.

    "Disobedience is the result of pride. The devil disobeyed God, and seduced Adam and Eve into disobedience, bringing upon us all the curse of Original Sin. But Jesus was obedient 'even to death on a cross.' Jesus at all times sought to be obedient to His Father's will. 'Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever He does, this the Son also does in like manner' (Jn.5:19). If we would follow Jesus Christ, we must be obedient, even unto the death of self."

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the First Sunday of Lent, he illustrates how Jesus set the example for all of us in fulfilling the Scriptures, and fending off the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, especially the devil. Today's gospel dwells on the temptation of Christ in the desert by the evil one. Just as Mel Gibson so masterfully depicted evil as the androgynous being that takes many forms, so also we must be aware of how we can detect this evil entity before it strikes, weakening us. Humble prayer and penance are a great potion, and truly knowing our Faith is vital for our very spiritual survival because there are Scribes and Pharisees in today's church of Vatican II who deny Christ and His Word, caving to the wiles of the devil, taking many with them. We must heed St. Paul's counsel that when all else fails, hold fast to Tradition. That is the wisdom of nearly 2000 years of Church teaching. We would be wise to follow it during this parched time of the Church's Temptation in the Desert. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

    Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray, and to be tempted by the devil. The outcome of this contest was never in doubt. The Son of God easily defeated Satan by His knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures. But Jesus Christ is also the Son of Man, a title which comes from the prophecy of Daniel, a title which Jesus used frequently. In the temptations He endured during the forty days His humanity was being tested, "For," as we read in Hebrews, "we have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tried as we are in all things except sin" (Heb.4:15).

    But why did the Son of Man win? Which human virtues were exercised in this dramatic confrontation with the devil? We need to know, because we are even now engaged in spiritual warfare. The Church finds herself in the desert of temptation, contesting the very meaning of the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

    If pride was the devil's downfall, humility must be the virtue that established and upheld the Son of Man. The humble Christ, "Who though He was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross" (Phil.2:6-8). Jesus tells us to take the lowest place because "He who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Mt.22:14). Again He says, "Amen I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it" (Lk.18:17).

    Disobedience is the result of pride. The devil disobeyed God, and seduced Adam and Eve into disobedience, bringing upon us all the curse of Original Sin. But Jesus was obedient "even to death on a cross." Jesus at all times sought to be obedient to His Father's will. "Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever He does, this the Son also does in like manner" (Jn.5:19). If we would follow Jesus Christ, we must be obedient, even unto the death of self.

    Jesus went to the desert to pray. One could spend a lifetime contemplating the prayer of Jesus. He was always, even from the first moment of His conception in Mary's womb, in deep communion with the Father. He went frequently into the hills to pray, sometimes alone, sometimes bringing His disciples, as at the mountain of His Transfiguration, and on Mount Olivet at the beginning of His Passion.

    Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days. He could have stopped there, having defeated Satan. He could have stopped with the persecution of His adversaries, with the betrayal of Judas, or with the bloody sweat, knowing that the shedding of even one drop of His Precious Blood was sufficient to redeem mankind. But He continued to the arrest, the terrible scourging, the falls beneath the Cross, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a Cross.

    "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God" (Jn.1:1). Would the Word made flesh (Jn.1:14), Who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, not understand the writings of the Prophets, which were inspired by the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the writings that spoke prophetically of the Christ? During the temptation in the desert, as Satan used the Scriptures to try to cause Jesus to sin, Jesus turned those very Scriptures against him, defeating him decisively.

    Jesus says of the devil: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn.8:44). "If I speak the truth," Jesus said to His adversaries, "why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear, is that you are not of God" (Jn.8:46,47).

    After His Resurrection Jesus used His biblical knowledge to teach two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus: "And beginning then with Moses and all the Prophets He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to Himself" (Lk.24:27).

    Could the holy Catholic Church, which is the Body of Christ, and which speaks with His authority, not understand the prophetic teachings from the Old Testament about the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Christ? Yet the false prophets of the New Vatican, betraying Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, pretend that Christ's and the Church's interpretation may have been incorrect. The Jews, they say, may validly interpret the Scriptures in their way; they need not believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Furthermore, they say, there are two valid covenants, since the covenant God made with the Jews was never revoked. A contemporary writer's comments reveal the absurdity of these "politically correct" teachings:

    "Our culture pretends that Judaism and Christianity are two separate but equal religions, with equal validity. But that is intrinsically illogical - one or the other must be wrong. They are one and the same faith, separated only by the matter of whether or not Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, and the religious consequences stemming from that fact. Yet mention of this point must be avoided at all costs, under the current rules of our politically correct culture, for it implies that either Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, and all of today's Jews are mistaken, or that Jesus was not, in which case Christianity is a grotesque and idolatrous error" (Roy Schoeman, Caught in the Crossfire: Gibson and His Movie, NRO, Feb. 25, 2004).

    An old saying goes: "Keep the faith, and the faith will keep you!" St. Paul admonishes us to stand firm in the ancient faith of the Church: "Now I recall to your minds, brethren, the gospel that I preached to you, which also you received, wherein also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold it fast, as I preached it to you-unless you have believed to no purpose. For I delivered to you first of all, what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures" (1Cor.15:1-4).

Father Louis J. Campbell

For the Proper of Today's Holy Mass - Missa "Invocabit Me", see First Sunday of Lent


February 29, 2004
vol 15, no. 60
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons

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