Behind every temptation is a lie. So Satan, we heard in the first reading in Genesis, Satan is the deceiver, he is a liar. So everything you get out of Satan -- he's always consistent. Everything that you get out of him is going to be a lie. It's going to be some twist of the truth. So Satan is also the tempter. He's called the tempter. So behind every temptation is a lie. And that's what I want to help see how Jesus kind of illustrates this for us in the Gospel, help us see the temptation of the devil.
Now, I got to the tell you, 2000 years ago Satan was tempting Jesus. He's not real creative. So 2000 years later he's still using the same kind of temptations, the same lies on us that he used on Jesus. So if we can get behind that, if we can realize it, the temptation, behind every temptation is a lie, if we realize that, it's going to help us not to give in to temptations.
I'm going to go through the three temptations. The first deals with hunger, the second deals with our identity, and the third deals with our innate need to worship. So, hunger, identity and worship.
So the first temptation. So Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. He's fasting. He gets done with this time of fasting and penance, and he comes out of the desert. And guess what? He is hungry, okay.
So we did a postinia last night, and I had 17 people from our parish, and they fasted on bread and water for 24 hours. At the end of the meal, I came and knocked on all of their doors ‑‑ at the end of the time of silence, I knocked on all of their doors. This is the first time I had ever seen it. The men were there first. The men were there first. I said, "Why don't you go ahead and start the eating?" The men ate their meal right away before the women even got there. They were already on the seconds before the ladies got there. They came in there hungry after fasting 24 hours on bread and water. Now, imagine forty days and forty nights of that fasting, how hungry Jesus must have been. So the first deals with hunger.
The tempter approached Jesus and said, "If you are the son of God, command that these –“ what “-- stones become bread." And Jesus says in reply, "It is written: One does not live by bread alone, but from every word that comes forth from the mouth of God." Okay. That's what we live on. So the lie is that we live on the bread of this earth. The lie, really, is that we need to feed ourselves. The lie is that when we are hungry we need to find something quick and fill that void. That's the lie.
The truth is man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. So when we are hungry, who is the only one that can fulfill that hunger? God.
Do we often turn to God when we are hungry? You know, that's the lie. The temptation is you're hungry, you got to fill it. You know, you're hungry, you better find something to fill that void. I don't care if it's food; I don't care if it's sex; I don't care if it's pornography; I don't care if it's whatever it is. You've got to fill it. That's the lie.
What happens when we're hungry and we try to fill ourselves with something like that? How do we feel? Do we feel full? We feel empty, right, because we’ve bought that lie. We've taken that temptation of the devil and we’ve bought the lie. And instead of finding ourselves full and satisfied, we realize that we're hungry and desolate. And the only way that we can fill that void is by turning to God, right? Man does not live by bread alone but by God. So the first lie is about our hunger.
The first lie is that you have to feed yourself and you’ve got to have something to fill that void. It's a lie. The truth is only God can fill the void.
The second one is the devil took him to the holy city and made him stand on the parapets. So the parapet’s the highest part of the temple. He said to him, If you are the son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: When you throw yourself down, who is going to catch you? Angels are going to come and catch you, right? The devil tries to attempt him to try to throw himself down; the angels will attempt to catch you unless you dash your foot against the stone.
He begins by saying, "If you are the son of God, throw yourself down." What's the lie? You're not the son of God. The lie is you're not the son of God, and if you are the son of God, I need to see you throw yourself down off this temple and angels catch you; otherwise, you're not the son of God.
What's the truth? He is the son of God. You know, so that's when he says, "Again, it is written: You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test." So what's the lie that the enemy tries to use for you? The lie is you are not the son of God. The lie is you are not a child of God. The lie is you are not God's beloved son.
What's the truth? You are. The truth is your identity. When you were baptized, you were no longer you. When you were baptized you became Christ. You are the son and daughter of God. That's the truth. The enemy is going to try to tempt you and lie to you and say that's not really true. Look at the life you're leading. If you are, prove it. It's a lie. You are the son of God. You are the daughter of God. You are Christ living in the world today, and you have all the power that Christ did to overcome temptation. That's the truth. Don't believe the lie about your identity. You are Christ.
The third temptation deals with worship. So we all have this innate need to worship. And, you know, it's been written, and I think Bob Dylan did once, you're either going to worship God or you're going to worship something else. We have a need to worship.
So the enemy tries to play on this and lie about this. So he says, the devil took him to a very high mountain, showed him all of the kingdoms in the world in all their magnificence, and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."
Now, do you think Satan would really give Jesus all of these kingdoms on the earth if he bowed and prostrated and worshipped him? Would he do it? No. He's a liar. He's a blatant liar. First of all, does he have the ability to do this? No. Because who do all these kingdoms belong to, really? God. It's a lie. It's a complete lie.
So Jesus says, "Get away, Satan. The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve." The modern‑day lie, you know, the lie that I think Satan is using like crazy on all of us today is this whole no ship of worshipping something other than God. So, serving someone other than God or something other than God. And today it's become work. Today we worship our careers before God. For you high school students, it has become very clearly sports. You worship sports before God. You bought the lie. You know, you're willing to give up Sunday mass to go to a tournament or to something else. You have bought the lie hook, line and sinker. It's a lie. Because we have this innate need to worship and if we're not worshipping God, we're worshipping someone or something else.
And so the truth is, you know, as Jesus says, "Get away, Satan. The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve," that's the truth. And so practically for us, that means that every Sunday, if we're not worshipping in mass, we have prostrated ourselves before Satan, and we're worshipping him in some other form, in some other lie we bought it. If we're not spending time every day praying and talking to God, we've begun to worship some other idol. You know, so that is the lie that he's telling us today, is that we need to bow down and worship him, and when we do he's going to give us everything that we want. And it's a lie. Because you can give yourself to your career, you can give yourself to your sports, you can give yourself to academics, you can give yourself to whatever you want, but in the end it can only be given to us through God. So Satan is a liar, and the same lies that he told to Jesus he's telling us today.
Remember, behind every temptation is a lie. So hopefully you've made your Lenten resolutions. And Ash Wednesday was a couple days ago. How are you doing on those? Has anyone given in to the temptation? Just remember, behind every temptation is a lie. So anytime you're tempted to give in to something you've resolved, there is a lie there. Try to go over that with God. Try to discern what the lie is, because when we realize it's a lie, it becomes far less tempting. When we realize, first of all, our hunger cannot be satisfied by anything else but by God, it becomes a lot less tempting. When we realize that we truly are Christ and that's our identity, it becomes a lot less tempting to have to try to prove it. Finally, when we realize that we have a need to worship and it's a lie for us to ever worship anything else, that temptation loses its power.
Always remember the devil is a liar. He's consistently a liar.
And behind every temptation is a lie.