- Sr Siobhán
A desert experience
Reading: Matthew 4: 1-11 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
In this reflection, Satan realises that Jesus is hungry after a long fast. He preys on Jesus’ human vulnerability and wishes to sow seeds of doubt about his self -identity as a Son of God in his heart. Satan fails to recognise that Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit and knows who he is as Son of the Father; a knowledge that has been deepened through a long period of fasting and prayer. Satan will not be able to sow seeds of self- doubt in the Son of the Father. Satan suggests that Jesus turn a stone into a loaf of bread to relieve his hunger. Jesus declines the temptation and reminds Satan that one does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Undaunted, Satan takes Jesus up to the parapet of the temple and challenges him to throw himself off; reassuring him that God will send his angels to protect him. Alert to the wiles of Satan, Jesus rebukes Satan and quite clearly tells him not to put God to the test.
Finally, Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he will bow down and worship him. Satan fails to recognise that he can offer Jesus nothing- all creation belongs to God. Jesus tells Satan that God alone is to be worshiped. Jesus’ response to temptation challenges me to reflect on my own attitude to temptation. Do I clothe myself in a mantle of prayer to protect myself from the wiles of Satan? Do I recognise temptation in my own life and how do I respond?
What are my own areas of vulnerability and weakness and what support do I have to face and counteract temptation?
Do I feed on the bread of the Eucharist and the Word of God to enrich my soul and deepen my relationship with my heavenly father? Are there times in my life when I put God to the test and do not take him seriously when He asks something of me?
Do I know myself as a beloved child of God who has the protection of a loving father against all temptation?
Today, your world is faced with many temptations; many wiles of the evil one; temptations to power, vainglory, greed.As Christian communities, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may to stand together to face down the sin of the world.We, your people desire to deepen our relationship with you through lives of deep prayer.May we always call on your holy name to protect us against all temptation; may your name be held holy this day and always, Amen.