Skip to comments.Christ's Temptation and Ours (An explanation of the three temptations) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Posted on 03/09/2014 2:06:38 PM PDT by Salvation
Christ's temptation and ours
FATHER GEORGE WILLIAM RUTLER
Christ was tempted three times as an act of love to prepare his Church for three temptations which would assault her in every generation.
The Spirit that "drove" Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12) is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the bond of love between God the Father and God the Son. Christ was tempted three times as an act of love to prepare his Church for three temptations which would assault her in every generation.
Satan tested Christ to figure out if he truly was divine: "If you are the Son of God . . ." So Satan also tempts the Church, not to discern her holiness as the Body of Christ, but to test whether Christians will be faithful to that holiness.
Satan first tempts the Church to turn stones into bread: to reduce the Church to a human creature devoid of supernatural charisms. The Church is the world's greatest feeder of the poor, but unless she feeds souls, she is redundant in a materialist culture. Satan wants to replace Communion lines with bread lines, as if the Body of Christ were nothing more than temporal sustenance. But Christ is Our Saviour and not Our Philanthropist. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you" (John 6:53).
Secondly, Satan tempts the Church to mock herself, as he wanted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and survive. This test will see whether Christians will take up the daily crosses of life with Christ in a broken world, or engage grace as a kind of New Age energy arrogated to ourselves without moral obedience to natural law. To fly against nature is to live in an unreal world, claiming to be Catholic without living as Catholics. Satan wants us to "take Communion" on our terms rather than "receive Communion" on Christ's terms. St. Paul would not fly that way: "He who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks his own condemnation; and for this reason many of you are weak, and ill, and some have died" (1 Cor. 11:29-30).
Thirdly, the Church is tempted with earthly power. Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon that the Church's power is not from earthly rulers. Pius XII said that Stalin would be able to count the Church's divisions only after he died. The two Thomases, Becket and More, made similar remonstrances with their own blood. In the history of the Church, Judas was the first to accept a government grant in exchange for doing evil. The Church is entering a time of severe testing, and she will be crucified in ways more tortuous than nails, for she will be jeered by journalists and patronized by politicians and menaced by false messiahs, but in the end the Church's despisers will hear severe words: "You could have no power at all against me, were it not given you from above; so he who delivered me to you has the greater sin" (John 19:11).
Father George William Rutler. Weekly Column for March 8, 2009.
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.
Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.
Satan tempts the Church to mock herself, as he wanted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and survive. This test will see whether Christians will take up the daily crosses of life with Christ in a broken world
Thirdly, the Church is tempted with earthly power. Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon that the Church's power is not from earthly rulers.
The Devil will always look to enslave mankind. Sin is slavery.
2. Satan tempts the Church to mock herself, as he wanted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and survive. This test will see whether Christians will take up the daily crosses of life with Christ in a broken world
Yes, he does. We can't read the hearts of others so we won't ever know these things. But, our good Lord will know, and that is good enough for me.
3. Thirdly, the Church is tempted with earthly power. Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon that the Church's power is not from earthly rulers.
The Evil one WOULD tempt the priesthood the most. Priests have the authority to say the words to consecrate bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus...and we are to consume them. THIS would be the very deserved agony of Satan.
on Ash Wednesday the sermon was about the drive through ashes sign the priest had seen on the street in front of a Protestant Church a couple miles away
What struck me at mass this morning was the last temptation...all the world’s wealth, if Christ would just bow down and worship Satan...
The thought that crossed my mind this morning was how politicians ‘tempt’ the citizen to vote for them with promises of healthcare, foodstamps, etc. They essentially are taking the wealth of the nation and tempting the citizen, in return they are to bow down and worship the government.
One interesting analysis of this passage that I've read is based on the possibility that Satan did not know who Christ was while this conversation took place. The "temptations," then, are Satan's way of trying to get Christ to reveal Himself either by performing a miracle, or by saying something as simple and definitive as: "I am God and you can't tempt me, dude -- so get lost."
It's not clear from the Gospel passage, but in citing Psalm 90 Satan even goes so far as to lay out a path of his own destruction at the hands of an all-powerful God. This is the part of Psalm 90 that he quotes: 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.
This is the very next line in Psalm 90: Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. What Satan was effectively saying was that if the power of God was in this man he was conversing with, then this man would have the power to destroy him right there on the spot.
But the most remarkable aspect of the "temptations" is that Christ answered all of them in a way that did not require Him to project His Divine power over Satan. He answered these temptations in a way that humans could answer them, and in doing so demonstrated that Satan's power, though strong, can be resisted by mere humans.
Christ never told Satan that they weren't Satan's to give to anybody. I've always taken that to mean that the kingdoms of this world do belong to Satan,
Creation belongs to God, I think we can agree here.
God gave who "dominion" of the earth? Man, not Satan.
But, Who is the Prince of this world? Satan
If Satan is the Prince of this World, from whom does he get dominion over all the kingdoms, to tempt Christ? One might conclude he gets that "power" not from God, but from Man. Through our 'freewill' we give our power to Satan and set him over us as the Prince of this World.
How sad that last temptation must have been for Christ, as he looks out at all the kingdoms that have surrendered to Satan.
Now go back to what I said about politicians tempting the citizens, and they bow down and worship the government. We give him power over us in exchange for earthly happiness, we surrender our Godly duty to have dominion over the earth. So yes, it is evident to me Satan does have the authority to offer the riches of the kingdom.
Jesus tells him what? "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'
This last temptation is a huge warning for us. A wisdom to be careful regarding the riches of kingdoms in this world..and to not set them over us, for to do so places Satan in the position of worship. And Jesus says what to Satan? "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'
Pretty powerful insights into these 40 days of Lent.
I watch him from time to tome on ewtn. was he transferred to another parish?
Excellent analysis. I have never seen this Gospel passage explained this way.
May I give an alternate view? I am the lecturer for my Knights of Columbus council and I wrote the following article for our newsletter (of which I am the editor) two years ago.
Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving
In the Jewish tradition, there are three main ways in which we are all tempted to sin; lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (note in 1 John 2:16). The lust of the flesh represents the desires of our appetites (ie: gluttony, sexual pleasure, et al). The lust of the eyes represents our desire for all we want (ie: greed, envy, et al). The pride of life is our disordered desire to be greater than we are (ie.: pride, vainglory, et al).
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were tempted by the Devil to disobey God. When Eve considered the fruit, Genesis 3:6 records that she saw that the tree was good for food [flesh], and a delight to the eyes [eyes] and that the tree was desirable to make one wise [pride of life].... In other words, from a Jewish perspective, she were tempted in every way... and the Bible records their failure.
In preparation for His earthly ministry, Our Lord spent 40 days in the desert. Luke 4 tells us He was led there by the Spirit for the purpose of temptation by the Devil. Jesus fasted for that whole period. When the Bible says He was hungry, note that he wasnt just ready for a meal... there comes a time without food where the body begins to consume what it can of itself. After 40 days, His Body was ravenous. Enter the Devil.
Satans first temptation is for Christ to turn rocks into bread. Here, he is playing on the lust of the flesh--and he knows Jesus is VERY hungry. How easy it would have been to give in to the desires of his body.
In the second temptation, the Devil took Jesus to a high mountain and offered Him all of the kingdoms of the world in return for Christs worship. This temptation is challenging Jesus through the lust of the eyes as Christ came to call all people to Himself--but definitely not this way. Would it not have been easier to take the Devil's offer rather than suffer for it on the Cross?
In the third temptation, Jesus is taken to the pinnacle of the Temple and told to throw Himself down since the angels will rescue Him from harm. This is the temptation of the pride of life by tempting Jesus to reveal His Glory to all before His hour had come.
Luke 4:13 tells us that all temptation was ended after the third one. I have heard many people say that Christ was only tempted in three ways... what gives? Again, Christ suffered temptation in all ways possible as known from the beginning of time... and He succeeded where Adam and Eve failed.
Where Our Lord led, we are to follow and He has given us tools to help us on the journey. What can we do to control temptation and the occasions of sin? We can focus our efforts on the opposite of the sins mentioned here... when we are focused on fasting and abstinence, we wont be focused on the lust of the flesh. When we focus on alms-giving, it would be hard to also focus on thoughts of greed and envy in the lust of the eyes. When we turn our hearts to God in humble prayer, we acknowledge our lowliness and leave behind the pride of life.
So, in following Christ, listen to the Church, His Bride, as She exhorts us to lives of fasting, alms-giving and prayer. She is leading us to deeper faith and closer communion with Her Bridegroom through self-denial, supplication and sacrifice.
“If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and save yourself.” All three forms of temptation came back yet once more in he hour of deepest need; the hour when the poor sinner is alone and cries out from the depths. The Psalms are shared by all who abide in Christ Jesus, but are little more than pious ramblings apart from Him.
Yes. St. Michael’s and Holy Innocents. Two parishes, one pastor. Both on Manhattan’s West Side. Holy Innocents offers mass in the extraordinary form daily and 10:30 AM on Sunday.
I think that’s largely correct.
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