Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As a Jesuit “regent,” I currently serve on the board of directors for Loyola Productions, Inc. A film our company is developing now with Sony Pictures is based on the Italian Catholic priest Gabriele Amorth, who was an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome in the 90’s. He performed thousands of exorcisms in his career as the Vatican’s “Exorcist in Chief.”
Like all of us, Jesus faced his own demons. Whether Satan himself, or the personal demons that can throw our own hearts into shadow, Jesus demonstrates through his own self-knowledge and faith what all trained exorcists knows well: that every demon must be called by its proper name before it can be cast out. And it was not any complicated spiritual spell that Jesus spoke; it was the truth of his Father as revealed to each one of us in Scripture.
On this first Sunday of Lent, Lord, help us to know ourselves better. Open up your Word to us and grant us the graces we require to convert our hearts to you!
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently finishing his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
God, no temptations will overtake us except what is common to all people. Lord, you are faithful. You will never allow us be tempted beyond what we can bear.
And when we are tempted, you will always provide a way for us to endure it. Give us the faith we need to follow you and to believe.
In your name we pray,
—Adapted from 1 Cor 10:13 by Joe Kraemer, SJ