Choosing Between Good and Evil

Word Alive By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD on March 1, 2020 the 1st Sunday of Lent

There’s an amusing story about a young man who was constantly bedeviled by sensual thoughts. Feeling guilty, he consulted a priest-friend.
“Don’t worry,” the priest assured him, “these thoughts popped out in our minds. They’re not sinful but only enticements. But the moment you start entertaining them, they become sinful. Did you entertain them?”
The young man paused, then sheepishly replied: “Well, I didn’t entertain them, Father, but I think they entertained me!”

Temptation is not a sin. Even the Lord in today’s gospel was tempted. Temptation, as the priest in the above story said, is an incitement to do evil. It’s when we yield that sin happens.
Contrary to common belief, temptations are not just incitements to commit sins of the flesh, but also of injustice, cheating, murder, graft and corruption.

One form of temptation is the so-called “occasion of sin.” A man who has been drinking heavily said he wanted to kick the habit.
On the way home, he is invited by his barkada to drink just one bottle of beer. “But after one bottle,” he says, “I feel so weak to refuse a second, then a third and so on.” So instead of the concluding toast “one for the road!” it becomes “one for the canal!”

It requires will power to break away. But if one knows he’s weak, he should avoid the barkada that would lead him to fall or get addicted.

Apart from bad barkada, other occasions of sin are pornographic materials from movies, TV, internet, sleazy literature; places of vices, like dubious bars, pot parties, gambling dens.

As someone graphically put it: “To pray against temptation but not to avoid the occasion of sin is like putting your hand in the fire and pray that the hand does not get burned.”

We have just entered the season of Lent. Lent is a season of testing and, as St. Paul puts it, a “spiritual combat” (Romans 7,15).

Are we making the right choices against evil? Let’s pray that the Lord give us the strength to say NO when temptation allures us and leads us to perdition.

Today is NATIONAL MIGRANTS’ SUNDAY. It falls on the 1st Sunday of Lent and fittingly so because the theme of the Gospel is about TEMPTATION.
One serious family problem among Filipino migrants is due to long separation of married couples.

A spouse working abroad, for instance, can succumb to the temptation of infidelity as a result of long separation. The spouse left behind can also fall to the same predicament.

AS MISSIONARIES. Aside from the enormous help of migrant workers by their million-dollars remittances to the country, they have helped strengthen the Christian families and parishes where they’re working abroad. To cite an example.

A cabinet member from our country once related how he met an Italian minister at an international convention in Rome.

“So you are Filipinos!” he greeted. “I have a Filipina helper at home,” he said.

“I’d like to tell you that ever since that Filipina started to work in our house, it has become very clean and orderly.
Besides, my children now go to church regularly because she brings them, and we the parents have to go, too, because our children prod us.
“ I tell you, she has done so much good for our family. I’m so happy we have her.”

The above and many similar stories show that our migrant workers are also our modern-day missionaries.

SUPPORT SEMINARIANS. The season of Lent calls us to do more acts of charity. One way is to help the needy seminarians under our “Adopt-A-Seminarian” scholarship program.

For inquiries, e-mail me at

Let’s support our seminarians. We cannot have priests, missionaries, bishops and popes if there are no seminarians. For they all start as seminarians. Besides, presently there’s a shortage of priests and missionaries.

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