The First Sunday of Lent: the temptations of Christ in the desert. What a seemingly unpleasant way to begin Lent! They were avoidable, for Jesus is only tempted from outside Himself, as there is no room for anything other than love in Him. But, He was tempted nonetheless-for us, so that we never be discouraged by temptation and so that we encounter Him readily whenever we are tempted. He is ever-present... Good news!
The three temptations that we "witness" Jesus experiencing in the desert, in a sense, crystallize all temptations. They seek to capture the heart and mind. They are essentially three forms of selfishness: gluttony, pride and vanity (one can interpret otherwise). But, interestingly, they are fundamentally good in due proportion, and relative to love: gluttony is delightdisproportionate and divorced from love; pride is autonomy disproportionate and divorced from love; vanity is self-caredisproportionate and divorced from love.
For must of us, these are daily struggles. We all struggle, in different ways, to curb excessive preoccupation with pleasure and control and looks andreputation and and... n'est-ce pas? Moreover, we live in a world that plays upon these vulnerabilities. Just pay a little more attention to advertisements! I will never forget a monster billboard I once saw in the desert of Texas (for Burger King): "Obey your hunger."
By the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus makes it possible to draw close to Him, to God whom we sometimes think too far beyond our reach when we are experiencing temptation. Au contraire, God is always within reach: greater than bread, God Who satisfies the heart; greater than control and power, God omnipotent and omniscient Who carries me; greater than fame and glory, God Who sees me as I truly am and Who welcomes me.
This Lent, may we obey our truest hunger....
From the desk of the Rector