No sooner is Jesus baptized by John, than the Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness where Satan tempts Him. So, too, do we live in the world where temptations assail us. Daily living, even for Christians, is a struggle. Followers of Jesus are those who dare to live for God’s Kingdom – no matter the struggle.
JESUS’ TEMPTATION AND OUR OWN
“Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
The devil never rests in seeking to cause havoc with designs to deepen our distress in ways that fuel discouragement and, ultimately, lead to despair.
In today’s Gospel, we witness the devil’s attempt to do this to Jesus (Mark 1:12-15). In contrast to the same event given us by Matthew and Luke, Mark is not concerned with details involving the specific temptations. Instead, Mark focuses on the escalating conflict in the rugged desert terrain between Jesus and Satan.
Mark’s Gospel establishes Jesus’ ministry not with flesh and blood as much as depicting God’s titanic battle with principalities and powers. Far from the fight between good and evil ending in the desert, as Mark relays the account we learn that this is but a scene in Jesus’ war against Satan.
Recall, too, that Mark posits Jesus as the Son of God who summons us to repent and to believe in the Good News (1:15).
Let us not squander Lenten opportunities for transformation with superficial and mindless actions. The Church lovingly gives us this special season of grace in order that we listen attentively to the Gospel and turn back to the ways God sets for us.
God reigns, but how wholehearted is our response to live in His Kingdom? Lent is the time to ask ourselves this question and to dare to answer it confidently.