Today’s Mass readings, for the first Sunday of Lent tell us how God made a new Covenant with Noah – a family Covenant, telling, Noah that He will establish His plan with Noah’s descendants and that there will never again be a world wide flood to destroy all mankind (and other stuff).
Then the Gospel is a quick rather taciturn explanation from Mark that Jesus went into the desert, fasted for forty days, got tempted by the devil and John was arrested.
How do these readings fit?
I wonder if we should look at this from Satan’s view point. We are told from the rabbinic tradition that on the Second Day of creation God made the angels and gave them their test. What was the test? Well, many saints and theologians believe the test was that God showed them all His plan for salvation. He showed them Christ Incarnate and His fully human and not divine mother and said, “She will be your Queen and you must serve her.” This coupled with the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was more than Lucifer the light bearer, brightest of all the angels could take. He refused with those dark and echoing through history words “I will not serve!” (Non Serviam). With that he lost every bit of light and grace he had been given and was – with the determined help of St. Michael – thrust into hell with a third of the angels. Hell would never have needed to exist if this had not happened. Lucifer was not longer a light bearer but the Satan, the adversary, the accuser of the blessed.
Satan had one plan, to stop God’s plan. He aimed his venom at the Woman int he garden, lest she be blessed among all women. But his victory came with defeat. Then he must have worked all out to ensure that mankind turned more to him and walked further from God. Again he got a victory but as God washed it all away it was a short-lived one.
God renews the Covenant with Noah, which must have infuriated Satan and so Mankind get s a fresh start. Ham blows it in such an obscene way that the resulting son is cursed and Satan must have thought his luck was in.
Satan is of course very clever (though I have a theory he lacks imagination as evil is always so samey and banal) but he doesn’t know everything.
When Jesus started His public ministry did Satan know who He was? Or did He wonder about it and decide to go and see for himself? Not only did this Jesus not fall for any of the temptations He simply sent Satan away and Satan just had to go.
It seems pretty certain that after that not only did Satan know who Jesus was, but the rest of the devils did too and Jesus had to silence a few of them in His ministries of exorcism.
But Satan still had Herod on his side and it wasn’t long before John the Baptist was arrested. But unfortunately for hell and it’s minions, every evil act done only helped God’s plan to evolve – as He makes straight with crooked lines.