We always ask the question, “If God is good why is there hell?” Our Christian faith reminds us that God created spiritual beings called Angels. Lucifer, a very beautiful angel, along with one-third of the angels, rebelled against God. Why? “They wanted to be like God.” Hence, Led by St. Michael, they were cast out of heaven into hell and the earth.
In popular readings of the Gospel, the devil tempted Adam and Eve, as well as Jesus, with three things:
- Pleasure: the devil showed Adam and Eve a fruit that looked so delicious and pleasing to the eyes. The devil also told Jesus, who was very hungry, “turn these stones into bread”. Yes, the most delicious bread you can make. Look at the pleasures we enjoy these times. Just go to the internet and you can be entertained the whole day. How often do we forget pleasure and true happiness are two different things.
- Possession: the devil gave the fruit because of desire to gain wisdom. The devil also tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world. Look at how the world accumulates possessions, forgetting that we will leave all behind.
- Pride: the devil told Eve, “You will be like God”. He also challenged Jesus, “If you are the Son of God?” How many people today get hurt because their pride was pricked and how many retaliate. How often do we hear the line, “Don’t you know who I am?” John the Baptist with all his popularity said of Jesus, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
That is why during the time of lent we pray for three things in our lives:
- Against pleasure, fasting. Fasting has so many advantages. Studies have shown that people who fast are healthier, think better, and are happier. Fasting helps us detach from the things of the world, like food, only to find out what are the most important things in life.
- Against possession, almsgiving. At the end of our lives, we are going to be judged. How have you blessed other people’s lives? When I was hungry, did you give me something to eat? When I was thirsty, did you gave me something to drink? In other words, how we have used our time, talent and treasure?
- Against pride, prayer. When Jesus was being praised, he would always say, “It is not me, it is my Father.” Jesus was always seen praying to the point that his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. How does the start the prayer, “Our Father….”
The world has not only removed God but has even mocked God. So when all these natural and man-made calamities occur, who now do we turn to? No wonder, there is so much fear, anxiety, worry, and depression nowadays.
May we realize that all the pleasure, possession, and pride are useless and fleeting. May we realize that with those vices, we cannot be like God after all. Go back to basics – confess our sins and go back to God.