“Temptation is like a knife, that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction.”
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
For forty long years, the Israelites wandered in the desert, becoming the people of God, until finally, God led them to that land that was to become their home. Jesus spent forty days in the desert, being tempted by the evil spirit. On Ash Wednesday, we began our own forty days of reflection. During this season of Lent, we are invited to travel the road to freedom that the Israelites walked and that Jesus walked. We are invited to become less self-centred, more God-centred. In other words, we are invited to use the Lenten tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to reorder our priorities.
We face the temptations of possessions, power and following our plans, not God’s. Each of these temptations is about turning away from God, turning away from others, and turning inwards. The response that Jesus made, and the response that we are called to imitate, is to place God at the centre of our lives. This lesson took the Israelites 40 years to learn. The temptations in the desert confirmed this lesson for Jesus. And now we have 40 days of Lent to learn it too.