The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B for the 1st Week of Lent is Mark 1:12-15.

Following the manifestation of the Holy Trinity at Christ’s Baptism, Christ is  “driven” by the Spirit into the rugged Judean wilderness east of the Jordan River to prepare for His public ministry.  In solidarity with Israel’s wandering in the desert for 40 years and with the temptations of all men, Christ undergoes a grueling trial, fasts for 40 days and 40 nights and mysteriously allows Satan to tempt Him; unlike Adam and Israel, Christ will triumph is His Spiritual Combat with evil by remaining obedient to the Father.

Sensing Christ’s weakened physical state after 40 days of fasting, Matthew’s Gospel (Matt 4:11) offers a more detailed version of how Satan seeks to tempt Christ using temptations that worked at Eden and during the Exodus. At Eden (Gen 3), Satan successfully used doubt and deceit to tempt with food, knowledge and power to seduce Eve. During the Exodus, Israel was tempted to doubt God when hungry (Exod 16:3), was tempted to test God (Exod 17:7) and tempted into idolatry (Exod 32:1-6). Showing men how to resist the temptation of evil, Christ defeats Satan’s temptations using His human will and reliance on Scripture.  Angels come to Christ’s aid, as they will again at the Agony of the Garden (Luke 22:43).

After His Baptism and Temptation in the Judaean desert, Christ’s choice to begin His public ministry in Galilee to announce the Kingdom of God both fulfills past prophecy (Isaiah 8:23-9:1) and establishes future prophecy. Looking to the past, the land of Galilee was home to the ancient Jewish tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali which were the first to be exiled 800 years earlier; now this region is the first to be redeemed by Christ. Looking to the future, Christ is the great light who will call all men, including Gentiles to Christ’s Catholic Church.  In preparation, Christ urges all men to repent and to prepare for the Kingdom of God.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ easily sees through the schemes of His fallen angel Satan and demonstrates absolute obedience to the Father.  Son of Man, Christ is the most robust of men, able to defeat Satan despite being weakened by 40 days of fasting in the harsh Judean wilderness.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In Truth and Mercy, Christ has sacrificed for you personally. Marvel at Christ’s willingness to fast for 40 days and to tolerate Satan’s futile temptations to teach you how to fight against evil.

2) Christ’s first preaching is focused on commanding men to repent, to believe and to seek the kingdom; this call is a call to a complete conversion of heart.  During Lent, consider every man’s need for continual Conversion (CCC 1423,1427-1429) and pray for Christ to help you continually repent to more fully convert your heart for His Kingdom.

3) The Internet has dramatically increased Satan’s ability (CCC 394-395) to tempt men to commit the 7 Deadly Sins (CCC 1866: pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth). During Lent, be strengthened by Christ’s victory in The Temptation (CCC 538-540) and pray for Christ to help you reduce or abstain from unnecessary Internet surfing during Lent; perhaps consider “fasting” from unnecessary media consumption during Lent.