The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent is always the temptations of Jesus in the desert.
What is the greatest temptation for Jesus? I think it’s giving up on his mission as Son of God who has come to call us to live the Reign of God.
It’s settling for cheap substitutes for the Reign of God.
And for us, it’s very much the same.
Instead of multiplying bread for the hungry, we turn stones into bread for our own satisfaction.
Instead of showing forth the glory of God in caring for the sick, we seek grand spectacles that will make people look to us for easy salvation.
Instead of accompanying and identifying with the lowly, we seek control by identifying with the rich and powerful.
We forth our dignity as daughters and sons of God, as creatures held in God’s loving arms, and want to be like gods.
We give up our mission, our identity for a dream or, rather, an illusion.
José Antonio Pagola puts it well:
Our great temptation today is to change everything into bread. To reduce the horizon of our lives more and more to the mere satisfaction of our desires, making obsession with ever greater well-being and indiscriminate and limitless consumption almost the only ideals in our lives.
Jesus’ call can help us be more aware that man does not live by the good life alone. Human beings also need to cultivate the spirit, know love and friendship, develop solidarity with those who are suffering, listen responsibly to their consciences, be open to the ultimate Mystery of life with hope.
This Lent is for me a time to renew my mission and not settle for cheap imitations, to open myself to the will of God and not hold on to a desire to control.
Lent is a time to remember that I am not a god, the center of the universe; I am a child of God, who loves us.
That is my prayer and my hope for this Lent.