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(Part 44)


March 1, 2020

Today’s readings:
Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7
Psalm 51:5-8,14-16,19
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

To have a solid foundation, we are to be built on the Rock that is Christ. This means that we listen to and act on his words. We are to be obedient to God’s commands. And how do we build on sand? This happens as we do not listen to and act on God’s words, and worse, if we listen to and act on the words of the devil.

This is what happened to Eve and Adam. God had told them not to eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden (Gn 3:3), but the devil told them otherwise. God said that if they ate of this fruit they would die, “but the snake said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die!’” (Gn 3:4). And the devil continued with his deception, that if they ate of this fruit, “you will be like gods” (Gn 3:5).

Today the deception continues. Today it is called modernism, where the focus is on man rather than on God, where man is at the center and God at the periphery. Today man is being told the lie that he is at the center and not God. And especially with advances in knowledge and technology today, man is being told that he is the master of his destiny, that he can be like god. But all it brings is death. Just look at transgenders who try to reverse the sex God has given them. Many of them today are miserable, realizing too late their mistake. Eve saw that “the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom” (Gn 3:6b), but all it brought was death.

The devil also said that they “will be like gods, who know good and evil.” (Gn 3:5b). Knowing good and evil signifies moral autonomy and control over morality, which is inappropriate for mere human beings. Today this is what is happening. Human beings, including many Catholics and even clerics, are deciding what is morally right or wrong, and no longer relying on the authentic word of God and centuries-old teachings and traditions of our Church.

  • Many Catholics accept abortion and even celebrate it as a sacrament.
  • Many accept homosexuality and even homosexual unions, justifying this by claiming that there is also love in the relationship.
  • Many work at social justice, but in the process turn a blind eye to reproductive health services (read: abortion) that come with it.

The sin of our first parents was the original sin. We have inherited that and are born with original sin. “Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me.” (Ps 51:7). This is the flesh within us. Its tendency is rebellion towards God. It leads to death. “But death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Rom 5:14a), and “sin was in the world” (Rom 5:13b).

Now what assaults us are not just the flesh and the world, but also the devil. The devil continually subjects us to temptation. He even tempted Jesus! And he cunningly uses deception. The devil even quoted scripture in tempting Jesus (Mt 4:6).

And so it is crucial to listen to and act on the authentic words of God, and not the deceptions of the devil. Today the devil continues to offer us, as he did to Jesus, “all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence” (Mt 4:8b). We are offered materialism, sexual freedom, hedonism. All we have to do is to prostrate ourselves before him and worship him (Mt 4:9). Tragically, today many Catholics have done just that. Many are confused, or have already been led astray.

  • There are those who insist they are devout Catholics and receive Holy Communion even if they are for abortion.
  • There are those in the Church who favor giving Holy Communion to those in irregular unions, which are states of objective serious wrongdoing.
  • There are those who say it is up to you to decide your own gender, when in truth God made us male and female.

So we listen to and act on God’s words, not on what the world, the flesh and the devil tell us. Jesus resisted the three temptations of the devil by quoting scripture each time (Mt 4:4,7,10). And we live “by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4b). Being founded on the Rock that is Christ is what keeps us safe from the deceptions of the evil one. It is the evil one who tries to bring us down, and it is only in Jesus that we are saved, that our house is kept from collapsing. “For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.” (Rom 5:17).

Life or death? House standing or collapsing? Be built on Rock.

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