First Sunday in Lent
IT was interesting the other day to discover that a husband's signature is required before hire purchase goods can be acquired by the wife. The smart salesman at the door does his utmost to play on a woman's credulity arid trust. but he himself will only take the word of the husband. On guard, as we may be, the advert in the paper attracts and sometimes we fall for an old trick. Inferior goods are put into our hands and our shyness prevents us seeking redress. It is lack of conscience in business which allows too many salesmen to "try it on" just to get rid of their goods. They wouldn't go so far as to call us mugs but we are. The easy buy and the hard sell are part of our daily experience.
MUCH as we might condemn such practices as dishonest, we remember today, our Lord's temptations and the conflict with the Father of lies. The devil tried hard to sell his ideas to our Lord. His sales-talk has all the well-known qualities. Appealing to the 'gratification of the senses, presumption on God's mercy and coming to terms with the world about us, are the common ingredients for temptation in any form. Our Lord gives classic answers to this dishonest salesman. He knows what Satan is after and is on His guard. He does not abandon Himself to the allure of what the devil has to offer because to do so would mean asking God to leave Him alone as though man by himself is all sufficient. Yet in our conduct we so often fail where our Lord succeeded and are 'trying it on' with God. We see just how far we can go without being caught. The devil never tires of advertising his wares and his technique is always the same.
ST. PAUL must have thought that the Corinthians were "trying it on" for the epistle exhorts them to live up to their responsibilities. Nor does he want them to accept their Christianity on a sort of hire purchase scheme, "the day of salvation has come already". There is too much shelving of our responsibility, our duty to act in a Christian fashion. Like housewives, we are already committed in our budget and there is no selling of ourselves for trifles because we have already contracted with Christ. That is perhaps the best answer to any salesman and any devil.
Fr. PASCHAL, O.F.M. Cap.