Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Sunday Word

In today's Gospel, we encounter a Jesus who had to be hungry. Forty days wandering in the desert is a sure-fire way to get your stomach growling for almost anything edible. Sure, Jesus was sinless and perfect, but he was also fully human. That means when we find him, Jesus is seriously starving.

But there's a point and a purpose to it all. Jesus is on a mission. Actually, he's prepping himself for one. You see, Jesus is in the midst of a fast. He's been purposely abstaining from food and wandering in the desert to prepare himself for the three years of ministry and miracles as humanity's Messiah, or Savior, that stood before him.

Yet we must imagine that, at this point, had even the nastiest food crossed his path, even Jesus would have been tempted to call it all off and take a bite. In fact, that's kind of what happens here. In place of some stale and gross food, however, Jesus crosses paths with Satan himself. Knowing that Jesus is feeling weak and hungry, he nudges up next to Jesus, saying, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." In other words, "Hey, Jesus, if you're hungry and you're God, then whatcha waiting for? How bout a little snack? You make the bread, and I'll provide the butter." Tempting for sure.

Just like Jesus, you and I know what it's like to be tempted. We know what it's like to have a hunger for something we want, something that others might say we need, but that we know will serve only to distract or derail us.

Spend that extra dollar. Talk trash behind the someone's back. Sleep in on Sunday. Eat the doughnut. Ignore a friend. The list is endless. Temptation is everywhere. And, like the smell of some nasty nachos when your stomach is empty, its pull is strong. The truth is that Jesus isn't the only one who has Satan whispering in his ear.