Temptation, Sunday in Lent

temptationTemptation. Cue the old Perry Como song to get its meaning. Side note, I think Perry’s the least likely person to sing that song. Frank, yes. But “Wholesome-Married-Once-Perry?” Number 68-married-years for Perry and four wives for that saloon singer. (Mia Farrow! Two years! You’ve got to be kidding!) If you’re under 50, you can find Perry’s song on YouTube. But if you’re under 50, you may wish to first find out who Perry Como is.

The song begins, “You came, I was alone…” No community, few trusted friends as though the saloon guy was singing his selfish, self-centered signature song “My Way” like he’s “king of the hill.” Oh, wait. That’s in another Frank song, and sung twice in once verse. The “Temptation” song continues, “I should have known, you were temptation!” Of course, you should have known. That’s why we study world history, examine our consciences before and during each Mass and celebrate God’s mercy when receiving communion.

The song resumes, “You smiled, luring me on, my heart was gone, and you were temptation!” You know, we can honor our souls, but we feel our hearts. The union of these two – spiritual and temporal – is the combination of fidelity and being found worthy.

The song’s final verse, “Here is my heart! Take it and say, that we’ll never part! I’m just a slave, only a slave, to you!” You give up because you’ve given in. We don’t have those smart remarks Jesus gives to the devil. Ours is a faith trying to daily balance the soul and the heart – things spiritual and things of this life.

Unlike me, all of you will be tempted each day. You can call it remnants of original sin or the human condition. But daily you will see a dress that looks better than yours, you may consider harm to someone (not death but at least needing an ER visit), or regretfully harming yourself in whatever way. I don’t need to bore you with a list because we all live that list. I like those lyrics because we have these thoughts and the devil cleverly holds out his arm as if to stop us by saying, “No, no, don’t think or do that” which defines the word “lure” while luring us in to disunite our sacred soul from the foolishness of our heart.

When it comes to sin and feeling regret, I like to say, “It’s what we do with it that matters. “Actions speak louder” and we know the rest of the quote. Our silly, passing thoughts only become dangerous in our harboring them, making them more than a bubble in a cartoon strip.

The three’s of Jesus is ours, every day. The scene is a desert of loneliness with the heart fighting for the soul’s cooperation. Power, denial of God. The devil’s task is destroying the soul to win the heart. Much like a baseball player having a good streak, Jesus knocks off each one to left field.

This Lent, use that smirk that you use at an annoying driver or lousy restaurant service. It’s not an either/or when it comes to sin. It’s all about the smirk. A smirk that tells evil and your heart that this is not healthy, enriching or compassionate to either someone, yourself or both of us. Smirk. You know how to do it. You lower the edges of your lips and dismiss breaking apart what God assembled, our hearts and souls.

I suspect that Perry must have smirked a lot in his life. I don’t think Frank smirk at all.


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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2 Responses to Temptation, Sunday in Lent

  1. Maria Zoske says:

    You have such wonderful and enlightening point of views. Myself, and many others will miss your sermons at St. Bernadette’s Church. Every parishioner I talked to, is sad your time at St. Bernadette’s was too short( like it was at Christ King). I guess you could say, you developed a cult following. 🤗🤗🤗👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 God bless and hope to visit you occasionally at your next parish.


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