(Luke 4: 1-13) If there’s one thing we can say about Satan it’s that he’s thought of everything; when it comes to temptation, he knows every angle. In this week’s Gospel, we get a chance to see precisely how he works – how he targets our weaknesses. We can identify with all the ways that Satan tempts Jesus: through our bodies in our need for food, through our minds in our desire for power or control, and through our hearts in the way that we see ourselves. Like a bad used car salesman, Satan twists his words so carefully that it becomes difficult for us to tell the difference between truth and lies. It’s only when we buy into his false claims that we fall into sin.
That is where we must imitate Jesus. His wilderness experience isn’t meant to be a solitary event. If we are to be His followers, we must also walk the path He walked, including the trials and sufferings. In fasting, we are reminded of our frailty and our utter dependence on God. In giving alms, we recall the sacrifice of Christ, who relinquished everything to do the will of the Father. In prayer, we unite our hearts to God, discovering our worth as His beloved children. The wilderness is a kind of crossroads and it is up to each of us to choose which way we will go – becoming stubborn and trying to make our own way without God, or humbly submitting our lives to the One who loves us most.
Lent is an invitation to follow Jesus into the desert for 40 days, to purify our lives of anything that has become an obstacle in our relationship with God. When we emerge, the hope is that we, like Jesus, will have gained both clarity and a stronger sense of our mission in life. As we enter this time of reflection and renewal, let us unite our hearts and minds with the whole Church to pray for one another and for our future Pope, filled with hope for all that the Lord has in store.
– Kelley Holy