Overcoming temptation with the help of community: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel Mark 1:12-15 by Father Steven LaBaire

father steven labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

This Sunday’s gospel (Mark 1:12-15) states that Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and was tempted by Satan. After being tempted Jesus boldly embraced his mission.

Angela Marie Henriette The temptation
Angela Marie Henriette The temptation

Temptation is the experience of attraction to something or someone that’s not good for us.

Everyone is tempted. No exceptions, not even Jesus.

No one should be ashamed of their temptations. Temptations are as much a part of life as are breathing and sleeping.

Temptations always force us to make a choice:

“Will I give in? Will I resist? What will I do?” Over time, our choices define who we are and the quality of our relationships. Our choices create many of the situations we find ourselves in.

Lent is a 40 day journey that invites us to think hard about our temptations in life.

Everyone has an area of life where the temptation feels especially fierce. We all have an area in life where we experience ourselves as weak and where “things can get crazy,” if we let them. So, how are you tempted? Is it connected with anger? Envy? Control? Sex? Alcohol? Food? Spending?

The gospel tells us that while Jesus was tempted, “that angels ministered to him.”

Who are your “angels” who help you avoid giving in to your weakness?

Who are those companions and friends who push you to be your better self? Who is helping you right now to avoid a road you know you don’t want to go down? (Because you’ve been down that path before and you don’t like what you become.)

People in Alcoholics Anonymous have companions called “sponsors” that help keep them sober. They are “angels” in that they minister in the face of temptations.

Ian Swanswell Pool_Debating Society_Swanswell Pool Coventry_Apr11
Ian Swanswell Pool_Debating Society_Swanswell Pool Coventry_Apr11

The Christian Community (the Church) is meant to be a community of “angels,” both seen and unseen, that empowers us to resist bad choices and embrace good choices; choices that foster healthy relationships; choices that makes us more aware of God and of our purpose in life.

If we would consult ‘our angels” a little bit more often this week, Lent will get off to a very good start!

copyright 2015 Steven Michael LaBaire

Artwork: photo of Father LeBaire by Susan Bailey; “The Temptation” by Angela Marie Henriette, Flickr Creative Commons; “Swanswell Pool_Debating Society_Swanswell Pool Coventry_Apr11” by Ian, Flickr Creative Commons

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