The First Reading, taken from the Book of Genesis describes the “Original Temptation” – “You will be like gods, knowing what is good and what is evil.” Adam and Eve were given the possibility of making a choice to live for God, dependent upon and obedient to His will, or to say no to God. The temptation to evil led Adam and Eve to an act of faithlessness and sin. In this case they did not love God enough to be faithful. That is what sin is!
The Second Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul describes how the disobedience of Adam, who fell to Satan’s Original Temptation, brought him and us sin, death, and a broken relationship with God. St. Paul explains that Christ regained for us the right relationship with God by his perfect obedience to God his Father. For this reason, Paul states the sin of Adam to the infinitely greater gift offered to us when Christ entered the world. If there is a “sin force” operating in the world and in us, there is an even greater “grace force” at work everywhere and in each one of us.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. In this passage we hear the familiar story of Jesus being tempted in the desert after a retreat of 40 days in which He neither ate nor drank. In each temptation, Satan seeks to coax Jesus into abusing his power to prove that he is the Son of God, but Jesus resists every temptation to use his authority in any self-serving way. The setting for the temptations of Jesus is the desert, where the Israelites spent forty years and frequently succumbed to the temptations to disobey God.