A reflection by Br. Stephen Mari La Ja, OP
March 5, 2017 ■ First Sunday of Lent ■ Matthew 4:1-11
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is showing us that there are so many temptations in our daily life but by fasting, praying and following the will of God, we can conquer them all.
In my life, I saw in my Catholic friends and relatives could not resist to the temptations of power, comfort, good life, and wealth. Some of them converted to Buddhism because they wanted to be promoted in their worldly careers. Some of them joined the protestant Churches because of the promises they were given to have better future in their lives. One of my cousins converted to Islam for some years because she was overwhelmed by the temptation of her handsome Muslim boyfriend. Honestly speaking I was tempted to do the same like my friends before but I did not push it through for many reasons. One of my reasons for not converting to Buddhism and Islam was that I discovered a significant reality about Jesus Christ. Other religious leaders like Gautama Buddha, Mohammed, and Confucius did not claim to be God, but Jesus Christ did and he was the only one who had risen from the dead (cf. Lk 24: 50-53). It gave me a profound idea that Christianity is founded by God while other religions were not. And the reason why I am faithful to the Catholic Church is that I discovered the beauty of the Catholic Church. She is the only Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Church was entrusted to the Twelve Apostles and was handed down to us by the Fathers of the Church, Holy Popes, Saints, and faithful Catholics from one generation to another up to the present time. There is a continuity of the apostolic succession from the time of Jesus Christ to our present pontiff, Pope Francis. And I also realized that among all the Christian Churches, the Catholic Church is the only one that provides all seven sacraments, which serves as channels of God’s grace that leads us the way to the Kingdom of God.
Lord, fill me with your good news and Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it. Amen. ■
Br. Stephen Mari La Ja, OP is a student brother from Kachin State, Myanmar. He made his profession to the Dominican Order on May 12, 2007. He finished his Bachelor of Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines ■