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The Temptation of Christ - The Ongoing Cosmic Conflict
 
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First Sunday in Lent - Gospel of Saint Matthew 4:1-11
The Temptation of Christ - the On-going Cosmic Conflict
The Temptation of Christ - the On-going Cosmic Conflict
The Temptation of Christ - the On-going Cosmic Conflict
 
 
 

 
 

Christ tempted by the devil by John Ritto Penniman (1782-1841); 1818; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., United States; commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

Gospel according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry.
And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God,
command that these stones be made bread.
Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live,
but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.
Then the devil took him up into the holy city,
and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,
And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down,
for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee,
and in their hands shall they bear thee up,
lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said to him: It is written again:
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,
And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me.
Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written,
The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.
Thus ends the Holy Gospel.


First Sunday in Lent: Homily by Father Charles Jeremiah Higgins based on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11, Latin Tridentine Mass, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish, Newton, Massachusetts; March 10, 2019


First Sunday in Lent

I take for my text from Psalm 90, which is the Psalm whose verses fill our Mass Propers today. The Psalm is the motif if you will of this First Sunday in Lent.

"He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word."

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Ash Wednesday provides a dramatic opener for the Holy Fast of Lent and the three days following gives us exhortations on the right way of carrying out a fast that is pleasing to God.

And now on this First Sunday in Lent the intensity increases as we are brought to the frontlines of spiritual warfare. In the temptation of Christ we have an image which enables us to see that which is otherwise unseen, that is the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan. Christian revelation has given us a clear outline of both the existence and nature of this conflict. But, absent such revelation, we humans would never have figured it out.

You see, we are not the heros of this story we are more the bit players. There is the Holy Trinity of God and there is the Satan, the adversary. The evil one who is now the Satan was once good, the angel of light created by God along with all the other pure spiritual creatures we call angels. But instead of loving God, his Creator, this angel thought instead to become his own god. The motto of Satan is: "Non serviam" (I will not serve). An English Puritan poet, John Milton, in his epic poem, "Paradise Lost" has the same reasoning, it was better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

For his rebellion Satan was cast down into Hell eternally, separated from God together with all of the other angels who followed him. The fall of the angels would not have concerned us if the Satan had not succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve, the first parents of the human race, into immitating him in his rebellion against God by disdobeying the clear command of God and eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Why did God allow such a temptation to take place at all? That is part of the mystery of inequity - we don't really know the answer to that question. We can speculate that God owed it to his justice to allow, and then once the Satan had succeeded God also in his justice had to concede to the devil Satan a certain right of conquest over the earth.

Therefore, God became incarnate in Jesus Christ in order to overturn this right of conquest. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, undoes by His obedient suffering what the first Adam had done by his disobedience. Christ utter self emptied on the Cross vanquishes Satan's power. This is what the liturgy is continually showing us. The evil one is beaten once and for all times.

What is left during this last stage of the world before the second advent is that Satan is trying to make retaliatory strikes against Christ, his conqueror before he is shut up in Hell for good. The devil cannot not block the whole human race from entering through the gates of Heaven. All he can do is pick off individual human souls who go astray and ferment as much human social strife as he can, particularly with wars.

But we little humans are just pawns in the game. We are nothing to Satan. We only matter to him because we are loved by God and precious to God. The devil like a true coward and bully goes after us because he can't overcome God, which ought to make us Christians think well on our existential situation.

If I keep faith with Christ in my baptismal vowes, if I keep the moral commandments; if I strive to perservere in the church over the course of my lifetime, then Jesus Christ will protect me against Satan. I will be spared many things. I will be protected against many things. And at the end of my life I will die and go to Heaven. I may have to suffer in my sharing of the Cross, but I will not be a slave of Satan who is a most cruel slave master.

On the other hand, if I, as a baptized Christian choose to disbelieve what God has revealed to us about the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan, or if I become indifferent to this dangerous spiritual reality, or flipant in its regard, then I will NOT be protected and my own individual salvation will be very much at risk.

So then let us take to heart the lesson Mother Church gives us on this First Sunday in Lent about the true nature of the underlying conflict in the world. Let us neither under estimate nor exaggerate the threat Satan poses to us. The protection promised to Christ, mystically are the words of Psalm 90, his promise to us his faithful ones, as well.

"The Lord will overshadow thee with his shoulders and under his wings thou shall trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield."

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.



 

Gospel according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry.
And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God,
command that these stones be made bread.
Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live,
but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.
Then the devil took him up into the holy city,
and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,
And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down,
for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee,
and in their hands shall they bear thee up,
lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said to him: It is written again:
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,
And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me.
Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written,
The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.
Thus ends the Holy Gospel.


First Sunday in Lent: Homily by Father Charles Jeremiah Higgins based on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11, Latin Tridentine Mass, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish, Newton, Massachusetts; March 10, 2019


First Sunday in Lent

I take for my text from Psalm 90, which is the Psalm whose verses fill our Mass Propers today. The Psalm is the motif if you will of this First Sunday in Lent.

"He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word."

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Ash Wednesday provides a dramatic opener for the Holy Fast of Lent and the three days following gives us exhortations on the right way of carrying out a fast that is pleasing to God.

And now on this First Sunday in Lent the intensity increases as we are brought to the frontlines of spiritual warfare. In the temptation of Christ we have an image which enables us to see that which is otherwise unseen, that is the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan. Christian revelation has given us a clear outline of both the existence and nature of this conflict. But, absent such revelation, we humans would never have figured it out.

You see, we are not the heros of this story we are more the bit players. There is the Holy Trinity of God and there is the Satan, the adversary. The evil one who is now the Satan was once good, the angel of light created by God along with all the other pure spiritual creatures we call angels. But instead of loving God, his Creator, this angel thought instead to become his own god. The motto of Satan is: "Non serviam" (I will not serve). An English Puritan poet, John Milton, in his epic poem, "Paradise Lost" has the same reasoning, it was better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

For his rebellion Satan was cast down into Hell eternally, separated from God together with all of the other angels who followed him. The fall of the angels would not have concerned us if the Satan had not succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve, the first parents of the human race, into immitating him in his rebellion against God by disdobeying the clear command of God and eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Why did God allow such a temptation to take place at all? That is part of the mystery of inequity - we don't really know the answer to that question. We can speculate that God owed it to his justice to allow, and then once the Satan had succeeded God also in his justice had to concede to the devil Satan a certain right of conquest over the earth.

Therefore, God became incarnate in Jesus Christ in order to overturn this right of conquest. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, undoes by His obedient suffering what the first Adam had done by his disobedience. Christ utter self emptied on the Cross vanquishes Satan's power. This is what the liturgy is continually showing us. The evil one is beaten once and for all times.

What is left during this last stage of the world before the second advent is that Satan is trying to make retaliatory strikes against Christ, his conqueror before he is shut up in Hell for good. The devil cannot not block the whole human race from entering through the gates of Heaven. All he can do is pick off individual human souls who go astray and ferment as much human social strife as he can, particularly with wars.

But we little humans are just pawns in the game. We are nothing to Satan. We only matter to him because we are loved by God and precious to God. The devil like a true coward and bully goes after us because he can't overcome God, which ought to make us Christians think well on our existential situation.

If I keep faith with Christ in my baptismal vowes, if I keep the moral commandments; if I strive to perservere in the church over the course of my lifetime, then Jesus Christ will protect me against Satan. I will be spared many things. I will be protected against many things. And at the end of my life I will die and go to Heaven. I may have to suffer in my sharing of the Cross, but I will not be a slave of Satan who is a most cruel slave master.

On the other hand, if I, as a baptized Christian choose to disbelieve what God has revealed to us about the cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan, or if I become indifferent to this dangerous spiritual reality, or flipant in its regard, then I will NOT be protected and my own individual salvation will be very much at risk.

So then let us take to heart the lesson Mother Church gives us on this First Sunday in Lent about the true nature of the underlying conflict in the world. Let us neither under estimate nor exaggerate the threat Satan poses to us. The protection promised to Christ, mystically are the words of Psalm 90, his promise to us his faithful ones, as well.

"The Lord will overshadow thee with his shoulders and under his wings thou shall trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield."

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.




 
 
 

 
 

Miraculous food of Jesus in the desert by Joaquín Espalter y Rull (1809-1880); 1842; Academia Real de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain; commons.wikimedia.org

 
 
Psalm 90

Qui habitat. The just is secure under the protection of God.

He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven.
He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge.

There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.
He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.

I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.




 
Psalm 90

Qui habitat. The just is secure under the protection of God.

He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven.
He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge.

There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.
He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.

I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.




 
 
 
 
March 10, 2019 - First Sunday in Lent - Latin Tridentine Mass, Gospel according to Saint Matthew 4:1-11 and Homily by Father Charles Jeremiah Higgins, Pastor, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish, Newton, MA


 
 

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OUR FATHER

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Liberate us from all temptation[*]
And deliver us from all evil. Amen



[*] Liberate us is in keeping with the original Latin text.
       God usually does not "lead us" to temptation
       (unless we are tested),
       but gives us the grace to overcome and/or resist it
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HAIL MARY

Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art though among women,
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb, Jesus.
 
Holy Mary, Mary of God
Pray for us sinners
Now, and in the hour
Of our death. Amen


 
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APOSTLE'S CREED
I believe in God, the Father Almighty
Creator of Heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the
[work and grace of the] Holy Ghost,[*]
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into the Dead.[**]
On the third day, He rose again;
He ascended into Heaven,
And sits at the right hand of God,
the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge
the living and the dead.
 
I believe in the Holy Ghost,[*]
The Holy Catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins.
The resurrection of the body,
And life everlasting. Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
[**] the Dead: "inferi", the underworld or the dead in Latin.
X
GLORIA

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all her iniquities.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice
of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gate of hell.
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with Thy Spirit.

(50 days indulgence to all who pray the De Profundis with V. and R.
"Requiem aeternam" (Eternal Rest) three times a day.
Pope Leo XIII, February 3, 1888)


Let us pray:
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all
the faithful, we beseech Thee to grant
to the souls of Thy servants the remission
of their sins, so that by our prayers
they may obtain pardon for which they long.
O Lord, who lives and reigns,
world without end. Amen

May they rest in peace. Amen

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PADRE NUESTRO

Padre Nuestro,
que estas en los Cielos
Santificado sea Tu Nombre;
Venga a nosotros tu Reino;
Hágase Tu Voluntad
en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día;
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
Como también nosotros
perdonamos a los que nos ofenden,
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
y líbranos del mal. Amén
 
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AVE MARÍA

Dios te salve, María,
llena eres de gracia;
El Señor es Contigo;
Bendita Tú eres
entre todas las mujeres,
Y bendito es el fruto
De tu vientre, Jesús.
 
Santa María,
Madre de Dios,
Ruega por nosotros
pecadores,
Ahora y en la hora
De nuestra muerte.
Amén
 
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CREDO
Creo en Dios, Padre Todopoderoso,
Creador del cielo y de la tierra.
Creo en Jesucristo,
Su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor,
Que fue concebido por obra
y gracia del Espíritu Santo,
Nació de la Santa María Virgen;
Padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato,
Fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado,
Descendió a los infiernos,
Al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos,
Subió a los cielos
Y está sentado a la derecha de Dios,
Padre Todopoderoso.
Desde allí ha de venir a juzgar
a los vivos y a los muertos.

Creo en el Espíritu Santo,
La Santa Iglesia Católica,
La comunión de los santos,
El perdón de los pecados,
La resurrección de la carne
Y la vida eterna. Amén
 
 
CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor; Señor,
escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos
a la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?
Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia.
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

X
GLORIA

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS y QUE DESCANSEN EN PAZ

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor;
Señor, escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos a
la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?

Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia,
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

V. Dadles, Señor, a todas las almas
el descanso eterno.
R. Y haced lucir sobre ellas
vuestra eterna luz.
V. Que en paz descansen.
R. Amén.