Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Sunday 10 March 2019
First Reading: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10
Second Reading: Romans 10: 8-13
Gospel: Luke 4: 1-13
Last Wednesday, with the penitential Rite of Ashes we began Lent, a Season in preparation for the annual celebration of Easter. But what does it mean to begin the Lenten journey? 
The Gospel for this First Sunday of Lent, St Luke recounts that after receiving Baptism from John, "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil". 
The temptations were not just an incident on the way but rather the consequence of Jesus' decision to carry out the mission entrusted to him by the Father to live to the very end his reality as the beloved Son who trusts totally in him. Christ came into the world to set us free from sin and from the ambiguous fascination of planning our life leaving God out. 
He did so by fighting the Tempter himself, until the Cross. This example applies to everyone: the world is improved by starting with oneself, changing, with God's grace, everything in one's life that is not going well. 
The first of the three temptations to which Satan subjects Jesus originates in hunger, that is, in material need. But Jesus responds with Sacred Scripture: "Man shall not live by bread alone". 
Then the Devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth and says: “all this will be yours if, prostrating yourself, you worship me”. This is the deception of power, and an attempt which Jesus was to unmask and reject: "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve". Not adoration of power, but only of God, of truth and love. 
Lastly, the Tempter suggests to Jesus that he work a spectacular miracle. However, Jesus answers that God must never be put to the test. We cannot "do an experiment" in which God has to respond and show that he is God: we must believe in him! We should not make God "the substance" of "our experiment". 
Still referring to Sacred Scripture, Jesus puts the only authentic criterion obedience, conformity to God's will, which is the foundation of our existence before human criteria. If we carry God's word in our minds and hearts, if it enters our lives, if we trust in God, we can reject every kind of deception by the Tempter. Furthermore, Christ's image as the new Adam emerges clearly from this account. He is the Son of God, humble and obedient to the Father, unlike Adam and Eve who succumbed to the seduction of the evil spirit. 
Lent is like a long "retreat" in which to re-enter oneself and listen to God's voice in order to overcome the temptations of the Evil One and to find the truth of our existence. It is a time, we may say, of spiritual "training" in order to live alongside Jesus not with pride and presumption but rather by using the weapons of faith: namely prayer, listening to the Word of God and penance. 
In this way we shall succeed in celebrating Easter in truth, ready to renew our baptismal promises. May the Virgin Mary help us so that, guided by the Holy Spirit, we may live joyfully and fruitfully this Season of grace.