Every Lent, priest, nuns, monks, and many laypeople pray the following “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus encountered this truth in his temptations in the desert, another place in his ministry where he experience the struggle of humanity.
The temptations begin, “If you are the Son of God….” All our temptations begin by doubting and challenging Jesus to prove himself. Although Jesus is all-powerful and all-good, we struggle to make sense of suffering and tragedies.
The temptations continue as Jesus is invited to satisfy himself, impress others, and skip suffering. But Jesus responds repeatedly in humility. In the desert he doesn’t turn stones into bread and wine into himself. When tempted, we cry out to him to soften the hard realities of our lives. And Jesus does just that. He suffers in his passion, dies, and rises again to become life-giving bread for us. He becomes manna in our desert.
When we wish for power, Jesus promises we will reign with him if we also let him suffer for us and we with him. The devil would have us take matters into our own hands, doubt God, and make him prove himself by our measures. Yet if we listen to Jesus, look at his answers, and learn from his life, then true power will be ours.
-Fr. Mark Haydu, LC