Jesus goes into the desert because the Holy Spirit directed Him there. He fasts for forty days and forty nights at the end of which He is tempted in three ways: with hunger, with loneliness and with power.
We can expect to be tempted in the same way.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a foodie; I love any kind of food. Recently I had stitches on my tongue (all well now). I couldn’t eat anything but soups and yogurt and little quantities of that. During this time, I realized I don’t need a lot of food to survive. If I gave away the abundance of food I really didn’t need, I could feed a lot of people. What I really need in my life is to consume the Word of God and the Bread of Life. This is the food that will satisfy me.
Jesus answers the temptation of hunger by teaching us that “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word, that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
We have a tendency in life to assume an attitude that ‘everything I do, I do myself.’ I depend on no one, because no one suffers like I do, no one works like I do. No one can do the job I do better. No one feels the way I do. But this can leave us rather isolated from others because ‘no man is an island.’ We need to be surrounded by others who can help us. That’s why we have parishes, small groups of people who are willing to help us ‘do things.’
Jesus answers the temptation to be lonely when He teaches us, “He will command a (community) of angels and with their hands they will support you.”
Has my life become so shallow that my heart is an empty cave? Am I so busy that there is nothing left of me to enrich, to be nurtured or to be loved. Have I lost a sense of powerfulness, a sense that I can do something with my life to enrich it, that I can do something to make our others better, more welcoming, friendly, human?
Have I been overpowered in a worldly sense by worldly values that, in the end, mean nothing?
Friends, our only power comes from the Cross. Our power is not of this world; it manifests itself in our sacrifices and in our suffering. Jesus answers this temptation to gain worldly power by reminding us that, “The Lord, your God shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve.”
You see we have the tools to overcome whatever temptation may come our way: The Word of God and the Bread of Life; involvement in parish life and first a above all things to serve God alone.
The only thing left to do now, is to go out from here, find the lost or confused, and convince them that they too can be full of life, surrounded by a parish that loves them and be secure in God’s mercy.
Bring in the lost and poor here and let Jesus open their eyes to their salvation.