Fr SAJU PINAKATTU
Lent begins with reflection on the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. The Fathers of the Church explain that Jesus’s temptations are described after his baptism to teach us why we are tempted and how we should conquer temptations.
Having been affirmed as God’s Son by the voice from heaven and having been anointed by the Spirit at baptism, Jesus was led out by the Spirit into the desert to do battle with evil. Three temptations are narrated. The tempter said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, order these stones to turn into bread.” (Matthew 4:3) The temptation is for us to use our gifts to make a living for ourselves. But Paul tells us that spiritual gifts are given to the individual “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Jesus would later in his ministry multiply bread to feed others. But he would not do it to feed himself. Do we see our talents and abilities, our jobs and professions, as a means to serve others or simply as a means to make a living for ourselves?
In the second temptation, Jesus stood upon a mountain from which the whole civilised world could be seen. The tempter said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for scripture says, God has given orders to his angels about you. Their hands will hold you up lest you hurt your foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:6) This is the temptation to compromise. The devil says here, “I have got people in my grip. Don’t set your standards so high.” It is a constant temptation in our life to gain our greed by compromising with the standards of the world.
The third temptation is to do anything in the society or in the Church to show people and thus win the praise. Jesus remains steadfast and faithful to God, rejecting the short-cuts offered by the devil. Desert experience in life will challenge us and form us to celebrate lent if we meet Jesus in our desert experience. Let us journey with Jesus in the wilderness of our life, to hear God’s word and to rediscover who we are before God. We should distance ourselves from all noises that bombard our lives every day to walk with the Lord.