Reading today’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13) my attention was drawn to the last sentence: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” In the past, I had not really paid attention to these words, but today they jumped out at me.
The devil never stopped tempting Jesus. First, he attacked Jesus directly, face-to-face in the desert. When that failed, he attacked him indirectly through Judas Iscariot (cf. LK 22:3). In Judas, he found a willing party to expose Jesus to the biggest temptation of all: to avoid the suffering of the crucifixion. Fortunately for humanity, Jesus triumphed in all instances.
As I pondered those words in my heart, I realized that I must always be alert to the devil’s attacks both direct and indirect. As St. Peter tells us “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). However, this is an effort that I cannot take on my own. First, I must rely on God to fill me with the Holy Spirit (cf. LK 4:1) and grace me with steadfast faith to resist the devil. Second, I must join the community of fellow believers, for they, too, undergo the same temptations. Together, we will call upon the graces that God grants us through Jesus (cf. 1 Peter 5:9-10).