The Gospel reading of the second Sunday of the Holy Lent comes from Matthew 4:1-11 and recounts our Lord Jesus’ temptation by Satan after fasting for 40 days before beginning His ministry. As we move through Lent, let us meditate on this passage in order to learn from the great example of our Lord and so that we are continually aware of the schemes of the devil who is continually fighting against us.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
From the very beginning of the passage, we find something very interesting. We see that Jesus is led by the Spirit in the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted. The Lord submits Himself to being led to combat the devil, even while knowing that He is the creator of heaven and earth. In his humility, He was willing to do anything for our sakes. A careful meditation on the first verse offers us yet another lesson. Just as our Lord Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted, so too are we tempted by the devil despite the fact that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. Actually, it is after our baptism and beginning of our lives with God that we find ourselves having to endure great temptations. We should not treat this as unexpected, but continue to strive knowing that the devil will not rest as we make efforts to follow God. There is, however, one difference between our temptations and the temptation of our Lord Jesus. The devil goes to people in this world to tempt them. It is not people who go to the devil in order to be tempted. However, since the devil could not so much as approach Christ in His holiness, it is Christ who approaches him and allows the devil an audience.
On January 30, 7 priests from the nearby area joined Fr. Rewis in celebrating the Divine Liturgy on the feast day of our patron saint, St. Anthony. Following the liturgy, they met together to discuss various issues concerning the service in the Midwest.
The priests joining Fr. Rewis included:
Fr. Youhanna Nasif (St. Mary, Chicago)
Fr. Hedra Bisada (St. Mary and St. Abraam, St. Louis)
Fr. Morcos Daoud (St. Mary, Chicago)
Fr. Pavlos Fahmy (St. Mark, Chicago)
Fr. Samuel Azmy (St. George, Chicago)
Fr. James Mikhail (St. Paul, Chicago)
Fr. Theodore Labib (St. Mark, Chicago)
May God continue to bless their service for many years.
When Jonah was supposed to be standing before the king of Nineveh reprimanding him for the sins of his people as God commanded him; we find him sleeping in a ship caught in a “mighty tempest” after running from God’s presence. The shipmaster is reprimanding Jonah for not praying to God. Jonah admits his sin to his shipmates proclaiming that he is the reason for their troubles. He judged himself to be thrown into the sea to save others from these troubles. God then accepted his repentance returning the sea to its calmness after Jonah was thrown in the water. Through this sacrifice, Jonah foretells Our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to death by His own will, on our behalf, to save us from the Divine wrath, to grant us salvation through His death and resurrection, and to receive His eternal peace. Lord Christ said clearly, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (Jhn 10:17, 18)