Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jesus Shows Us The Way

There is something about today's Gospel according to St. Luke that sends shivers up my spine - particularly the ominous words at the end "and the devil left Him, for a time." I've always had a bit of difficulty comprehending why the Son of God would allow Himself to be lead to the parapet of the Temple by the devil, but a sermon given by St. Augustine on this topic, which is part of the day's readings in the Daily Office, explains this mystery perfectly. Just as Jesus went into the desert to show us how to fast and pray, He also allowed Himself to be confronted with temptation so He could show us how to overcome it. As I have mentioned here before, it is nearly always after a very holy period of time in my life that I face the worst attacks. Does it not seem the same here for Our Lord, who is weak with hunger after fasting and praying for 40 days, when He is confronted by the Deceiver?

It of often those times when we are at our weakest that we find it most difficult to resist temptation. When life deals one cruel blow after another, it's tempting to question God and why life is the way it is. When life becomes mundane and monotonous, it is tempting to think about something more exciting and glamorous that might not be good for our souls. As St. Augustine noted, Our Lord overcame His temptations because He was both God and man. We can only overcome these same temptations if we look to Him for help because we are not capable of doing it ourselves, and to think that we can is to fall for the greatest deception of all.

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