On this Sunday (03/05/23), the second Sunday of the Great Fast, the Church reads Matthew 4:1-11. In this passage, Satan tempted Jesus with sensual pleasure (“turn this stone into bread”), fame across all kingdoms (“I will give you power and glory”), and power (“throw yourself down”). Jesus rebukes Satan and emerges from the wilderness and His 40 days of fasting victorious, ready to begin to reveal his identity as the Messiah of the World.
By reading these passages the Church is reminding us that the Holy Fast is a time of warfare. St. John Chrysostom says, “Wherever Christ is present, there must be a spiritual war.” Through our practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we battle the devil’s power in our lives, and with God’s grace, defeat him decisively.
During this time of lent, let us resist temptation from the Devil by modeling Christ. As St. Augustine says, “Jesus our leader. He allowed himself to be tempted so as to teach His children how to fight.” Let us fight these temptations, saying to the Devil: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10 ESV). Doing so allows us to be on guard against temptations and remain steadfast in our spiritual development during this holy season.
Bible, English Standard Version
Commentaries on the Gospel of St. Matthew by Fr. Tadros Malaty