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Tuesday, March 02 2021

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Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Perez
511 N. Clementine St.
Anaheim, CA 92805
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Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent – March 8, 2020 by Monsignor Patrick Perez

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Monsignor began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.
This sermon is kind of based on the gospel of last week which was the First Sunday of Lent. Just to remind you, the gospel last week was about Our Lord being tempted after fasting in the desert for forty days and forty nights. He allowed the devil to tempt Him in various ways.
There are a couple of things I’d like you to keep in mind; first of all, Our Lord who never sinned, fasted for our sins. How much more should we be doing in reparation for our own sins? So, that’s what Lent is about. In fact, the forty days that Our Lord fasted in the desert is where Lent comes from. The apostles considered it essential, after the resurrection of Our Lord, to continue this forty days of penance before the Resurrection and it was passed on from the apostles to the rest of the Church and that’s where we got it. 
Our Lord allowed Himself to be tempted. Now could He actually have sinned? No, he actually couldn’t have because of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the divine person. However, He had fasted for forty days and forty nights and He and His human nature were suffering. He was hungry obviously after forty days and forty nights, so He allowed the devil to do this. So I just want to mention a few words about temptation itself because that is what it is all about.
One way or another we are tempted to various things, the main one is to commit some kind of a sin. And you have to keep in mind that all temptation doesn’t come from the devil but the devil definitely wants all temptation for us. Why? Because if the devil has any pleasure at all – and we can’t imagine that there is any real pleasure in hell – but if he has any satisfaction it’s of taking a person who is destined to go to heaven with God and turning him from that path, especially permanently. So that is what it is all about. We are made in the image and likeness of God; the devil hates us for that, he hates that we can still go to heaven and wants to corrupt us so we don’t. That is what temptation is about.
Like I said, all temptation does not come from the devil. Because of our fallen natures some temptation, most in fact, comes from ourselves. If you look at temptation in general – I remember when I was in college I used to get this catalogue from this kind of a fun t-shirt company and one of the t-shirts (I never bought it) but it said, “I can resist anything but temptation”. I always thought that was kind of a creative t-shirt. But in any case, because of our fallen natures, because of the sin of Adam, we want to sin. Our natures want to sin. We would rather be sinning than not sinning and without God’s grace we would be sinning all the time instead of not sinning. Thus the importance of grace which comes principally from the sacraments of confession and Holy Communion that keep us, in times of temptation, protected from actually sinning. But the devil can also tempt us. You know the devil is an extremely intelligent being and sometimes we don’t know when it’s the devil tempting us or when it’s our own natures. But sometimes we do; sometimes the temptation is so outrageous and out of the blue that there’s really no other place it could come from, and I think some of us recognize those temptations. It’s like, I never thought of doing that ever in my lifetime. Where did that come from? That’s a horrible thought.
So that is pretty much where temptations can come from. But it is also important to remember – Some of you are old enough to remember Flip Wilson. Anybody remember Flip Wilson? My grandparents were addicted to Flip Wilson and Lawrence Welk. This was back in the 70s. And he had a character who he called Geraldine Jones which was just him with a wig on that he used to do. And one thing he would say at the end of it was, “The devil made me do it. The devil made me do it.” In fact, the devil can’t make us do anything; the devil can only lead us to temptation but can’t force us. In fact, St. Augustine said, “For as a chained dog can bite none but those who go near him, so the devil cannot harm with his temptations those who do not consent to them. Like the dog, he can bark at you but cannot bite you against your will. So the devil as powerful as he is, the Lord will not allow him to tempt us more than we can withstand.
The value of temptation: Resisting temptation gets us more grace, pure and simple. If we have a temptation whether it is to do something in itself which is really, really bad or simply to do our own will over God’s Will, resisting that temptation gets us more grace. 
What are the best means of overcoming temptations? So St. Anthony says, “Who will escape?” “The humble;” he who knows his own frailty, distrusts himself, and relies only on God who resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble; the fervent. The fervent invocation of the Mother of God, of our holy guardian angels and patron saints; the pronouncing of the holy name of Jesus, making the sign of the cross, sprinkling holy water; the remembrance of the presence of God who knows our most secret thoughts, and before whom we are indeed ashamed to think or do that which would cause us shame in the presence of an honorable person; frequent meditation on death, hell, and eternal joys; fleeing from all those persons by whom, and places in which we are generally tempted; fervent prayers, and especially short ones such as: “Lord, save me, lest I perish! Lord, hasten to help me!” finally, the sincere acknowledgment of our temptations at the tribunal of penance, which is a remedy especially recommended by pious spiritual teachers.
And while we are still towards the beginning of Lent I found this little prayer for us at the beginning:
O Lord Jesus! who spent forty days in the desert without food or drink, and didst permit Thyself to be tempted by the evil spirit, give me, I beseech Thee by that holy fast, the grace to combat, during this holy season of Lent, under Thy protection, against intemperance, and to resist the suggestions of Satan that I may win the crown of eternal life. Amen.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Posted on March 21, 2020 at 12:59 am

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