The Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13)
A reflection on the Gospel from the 1st Sunday of Lent (Year C)
Written by Mr Casimir Douglas
The Temptation of Jesus in the Judean Desert is parabolic in nature. The story of Jesus’ mission into the wilderness is told in three movements by the Gospel writer, Luke; stones into bread, the mountain, and the pinnacle of the temple. The parables that Jesus himself told, as recorded in the Gospels, are often formed into three movements. This commonplace device used in the parable literary genre would not have been lost on the audience for whom Luke was writing. Research and analysis indicates that the Gospel of Luke was written between 80-90 AD, and was directed to an audience of Gentile Christians.
As the text was being read by early members of the Christian community half a century after Christ’s crucifixion and glorious Resurrection, the parousia was no longer seen as imminent. Therefore, Luke’s Gospel is full of references of encouragement for his audience, words of solace and resolve to stay strong in their struggles, to take up their crosses and to pray for bread each day. Indeed, the take home message of this story of temptation from the Gospel writer, Luke, is not about a mythological confrontation, but about the real and tangible temptations faced by his audience. The story offers comfort and communion as they bear the burdens of daily life for the Gentile Christian in Roman-occupied Ancient Palestine.
Jesus’ 40 day isolation in desert also lends its length to the season of Lent in the liturgical calendar. During his time in the wilderness, Jesus fasted and spent time in intensive prayer and meditation. As tradition holds, devout Christians are called to give up a source of desire or need for 40 days as their Lenten observance. For many, this is an item that causes temptation to behave contrary to their values or desired state, such as chocolate, lollies, gambling or alcohol. Thereby, reflecting the experience of Jesus’ prolonged period of temptation in the Gospel of Luke.
But such a practice was common practice for Jesus as a devout Jew. His regular observance of fasting will have included the weekly Sabbath, and the festival of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which focuses on repentance and confession. But curiously, Jesus’ fasting in the desert was not about giving something up for 40 days. Indeed, Jesus’ self-imposed hiatus in the desert was for Him to create space for that which was most important: to be truly, radically and completely open to God. This story of temptation in the Gospel of Luke is sandwiched between two key events in the Christ narrative, preceded by his Baptism by John in the River Jordan, and followed by the beginning of his formal ministry of teaching, healing, and gathering of Disciples. Jesus’ experience in the Judean Desert, therefore, was not one of atonement, but one of at-one-ment, of becoming and being one with God.
Therefore, our calling and our challenge for Lent is not simply about giving up our favourite snack or regressive habit, but about creating space in our lives for that which is most important. To seek at-one-ment, to be reconciled: to God, to others and to ourselves. Please take the time to watch the YouTube clip embedded below this reflection, titled: Lent Cartoon: Jesus in the Desert.
Pay particular attention to the representation of ‘the Devil’ in the temptation of Jesus. Ask yourself: what does this imagery suggest about the nature and source of Jesus’ temptation? How does this affect your understanding of the story and of the nature of Jesus’ experience? What does this suggest about the nature of temptation in our own lives? Is it external or is it internal? How does this affect what you will prioritise and create space for in your life during Lent and beyond? And how would this message have been received by the Gentile Christians for whom the Gospel writer, Luke, intended this parabolic narrative?
Selfishness is the source of all temptation. To prioritise your own wants above the needs of others is to secede to temptation. Christ’s example of acestical altruism reminds us of the essential call to Discipleship in Lent: at-one-ment.
I pray that in this Lenten season, that we may all create the space in our lives to prioritise the people and experiences in our lives that align with the Gospel and with the Good News: compassion, empathy, social justice, dignity, charity, hope and love.
‘Lent Cartoon: Jesus in the Desert’
Daniel Lee (2009)
Dear Parents and Carers,
Grace to you and peace.
GOSPEL VALUE AWARDS: JUSTICE
“Never see a need without doing something about it.
- St Mary MacKillop of the Cross
At the Monday morning Prayer Assembly this week, I spoke to the students about our Gospel values. I reminded them that these words are not just decorations written on the walls of the classrooms and buildings, but live and active ideas that describe how we are called to live.
The focus Gospel value for the month of March is JUSTICE. I spoke to the students about the example of Christ in the expression of this value in his ministry, and contrasted it against its expression through the stories and paradigm of DC’s anti-hero, Batman. Atypically, justice in this context is exhibited as the ‘bad guy’ committing a crime, and then Batman catches the ‘bad guy’ and makes him pay for his indiscretions. However, Christ’s mission was to the weak, to the outcast, to the marginalised, to the downtrodden, to the suffering, and the poor in spirit. God’s justice is that we, with our own two hands, support the needs of those less fortunate in our society. This is captured in the quote above from the founder of the Sisters of St Joseph and the first Australian Saint.
I challenged our students to be the first to offer help to their peers in the yard, the first to offer help to their teachers in the classroom, and the first to offer help to their family at home. The following students received a Gospel Value Award during the School Assembly (held via Zoom) on Friday 4th March for an act of justice captured by their teacher this week:
|Ellie Pike||Prep More|
|Nandini kashyap||Prep Thomas|
|Lachlan Phillips||Grade 1/2 More|
|Claire Bassett||Grade 1/2 Saint|
|Frankie Alexander||Grade 1/2 Thomas|
|Kai Thomas||Grade 3/4 More|
|Samuel Anderson||Grade 3/4 Saint|
|Lucy Mellor||Grade 3/4 Thomas|
|Reuben Phillips||Grade 5/6 More|
|Max Woolcott||Grade 5/6 Saint|
|Zoe Limbrick||Grade 5/6 Thomas|
These students will also attend the Principal’s Morning Tea this coming Tuesday (8th March) morning during first break at 10:50am with Mr Douglas and Fr Chathura Silva.
COVID-19 SAFETY REMINDER
As the school has experienced an increase in the number of students testing positive to the COVID-19 virus in the past seven days, I must make an urgent and sincere reminder. If your child is displaying any symptoms of illness, no matter whether it is just a simple runny nose or any of the range of significant indicators of the COVID-19 virus, please keep your child at home.
Please note that the virus is manifesting in our young people in a range of different ways, and with different compositions of symptoms, these include: runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, nasal and sinus congestion, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, lethargy, tiredness, lack of appetite and muscle aches.
Please be aware and alert to the presentation of any of these symptoms in your child/ren, and for the benefit of the health of our community, please do not send a symptomatic child to school, even if they have returned a negative result to a rapid antigen test.
Thank you for your on-going support as we navigate the current health climate together. Please remember, this is not an unexpected event. The life of St Thomas More's Catholic School will continue as planned, whilst we ensure that staff, students and parents continue to perform all relevant COVID-Safe practices.
PANCAKE TUESDAY & ASH WEDNESDAY
This week we ushered in the Liturgical Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday with a staff liturgy held before school and class liturgies held throughout the school day. As tradition holds, devout Christians are called to give up a source of desire or need for 40 days as their Lenten observance. For many, this is an item that causes temptation to behave contrary to their values or desired state, such as chocolate, lollies, gambling or alcohol. Thereby, reflecting the experience of Jesus’ prolonged period of fasting or temptation in the Judean desert.
But as a devout Jew, Jesus' understanding of fasting, as conducted during the Hebrew festival of Yom Kippur, was not on ‘giving something up’. The focus is on finding unity and oneness with creation and connection with God, a practice in self-emptying to make space for that which is most important in our lives. 'Yom Kippur' literally translates as ‘The Day of Atonement’. That is, at-one-ment. At one with God, at one with creation, at one with our family and friends, at one with ourselves. I pray that during this season of Lent we all prioritise creating space in our lives for that which is most important; our relationship with our friends, our relationship with our families, and our relationship with God. I wish to express again my sincere gratitude for Mrs Belinda Taylor for her leadership and organisation of the Ash Wednesday liturgies.
There is no question the most excitement and energy for our students in the lead up to Lent, is on the promise of Pancake Tuesday. Whilst we were not able host the annual Parents & Friends Association's cook up of pancakes due to COVID restrirctions, pancakes were still a cental feature of the curriculum that day, making many mouths, including my own, water in the anticipation and promise of maybe having pancakes for dinner that night. I spent time in each of classrooms that morning, and when quizzing the students on their preference of pancake toppings, their responses ranged from the downright delicious to overly outrageous. The morning was topped off (pun intended) with the three Grade 1/2 classes participating in a 'pancake race' involving the playdough pancakes that they had made for themselves that morning. Whilst they didn't eat the playdough pancakes, they certainly enjoyed the race!
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The Catholic Primary Schools Music Program for 2022 is getting ready to kick off!
Students in Gr3-6 interested in learning an instrument had the opportunity to meet the music tutors and hear some instruments on Thursday, and you can join in too on the live online demonstration and information session this Tuesday, March 8th - 7pm!
Use the link below to join the meet, and check out lots of demonstrations and information by scanning the QR code below.
Dear STM community,
(parents, grandparents and friends)
The Reconciliation Action Plan for St Thomas More’s Catholic School is now due for a refresh and republication. This process will enable our school community to collaborate in shaping the next chapter of our journey toward reconciliation. Our RAP aims to support our school community in developing an educational environment that fosters higher levels of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. Through our RAP, we will commit to strengthening relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the community.
Developing our RAP is a long-term commitment that will require ongoing consideration and collaborative effort. Within our community, there is unique knowledge and valuable experience that we would love to see reflected in the actions that we commit to in our RAP. Therefore, to ensure our RAP creates meaningful and sustainable change, we would like to seek your support. This letter is a call to action for our school community to express their interest in helping to drive our RAP development and implementation journey.
If you would like to be involved in any way with the development and ongoing implementation of our RAP, including being part of the RAP Working Group, please get in touch to discuss further.Meeting times will be flexible to suit busy lifestyles.
To learn more about Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali program and RAP development process, you may like to visit:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co-ordinator
AT STM we have invested in and adopted voice capture and distribution technology to create an equal auditory learning environment for our learners.
In the same way today’s cars have sound tech in them that means passengers at the back hear music like those in the front, Hear and Learn’s Redcat devices - involving the Flexmike one-piece Teacher microphone - deliver crisp and clean auditory messages to all parts of the room. We have embraced this technology in 13 learning spaces recognising that learners enjoy teachers speaking in a conversational voice. This means a more relaxed and calmer environment is created and assists with avoiding teacher vocal fatigue.We also have two student Sharemike microphones which learners can use in asking questions in class and making presentations which transmit to the Redcat in that space.
STM also features on the Hear and Learn website. Click on the link to see it https://www.hearandlearn.com.
The Department of State Growth has advised they will be replacing Electronic School Speed Signs near St Thomas More's from the week commencing 15th March 2022.
Works will be conducted between 7:00am and 5:00pm from Monday to Friday, however will pause during peak drop off and pickup times. There may be some temporary traffic changes during this period of works, including lane closures and reduced speed limits. Please keep to speed limits and follow the directions of traffic controllers and signs.
Enquiries can be directed to email@example.com, and more informaion can be found at transport.tas.gov.au