Homily February 17, 2013 First Sunday of Lent
As you might recall from a few weeks ago, Jesus was baptized by John and the Spirit of God came down and proclaimed him as “My Beloved Son” and led him into the desert to begin His ministry with prayer and contemplation. For forty days He ate nothing and prayed and pondered the unfolding ministry that was to be His life. In His humanity, He pondered and prepared to carry out God’s plan that would lead to His passion and death. After forty days, He was hungry. Now we see the entrance of the devil or evil, to shape or change the course of his mission by presenting an easy way out. He is presented with what I would call the first shortcut to fulfill his mission. It was simple enough, you’re hungry, just take these stones and make bread, get rid of your hunger. He had the power, so do it. Jesus rejected this for the power was for the Word of God that filled up the real hunger of humanity and that hunger was far more immediate than the hunger in His own stomach. God;s word can cure-all of humanity’s hunger.
The second shortcut is an offer of power and politics Use popularity, power, influence and be the messianic king the people expected like a David or a Solomon. All He was asked was to worship this evil spirit or devil and it was done. But Jesus in all of His humanness, knew and understood that the use of power was corrupting of what was God’s real purpose for humanity. Worship was for God and His mission was to serve and teach and even give his life so all others could have life in the Spirit. As easy as it might be He rejected it.
The third shortcut was the big show or grandstand play. Jump off the temple and show God will save Him because He is the chosen one. This was it for Jesus as he dismissed the devil saying you do not test God. He was going to do His ministry by God’s will not His own. It would mean a daily giving of Himself and prayerful resolve. He will often go aside from the immediate surroundings to pray and contemplate God’s will.
In summing up, I think most of us have a very basic idea of what is good and what is evil. However there are times when a gray area arises and even an easy way or shortcut appears when we are forced to make choices in our life. It is so easy sometimes to say what’s in it for me and forget our call to love. Love God and love our neighbor as ourself. If we ask what’s in it for me, aren’t we forgetting that call? Remember there are really no shortcuts in loving, it is a totality of giving.