Saturday, February 29, 2020

tempted in the desert

"At that time, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil..."
(Mt. 4:1; complete text for Mass Mt. 4:1-11)

This Gospel is frequently spoken of in the context of the temptations offered to Christ - in the form of wealth, power, and pleasure - and that is, of course, quite valid, but I think there’s more to consider here.

This Gospel is also ultimately a reminder that evil is present in our desert... in our own world. 

I don’t mean evil in the form of horned devils, running around with pitchforks looking to possess the next wayward soul. Evil is far more insidious than that - because it is much more obvious, yes much less recognized. 

Evil is there, in wars, in discrimination, in the injustices done to the vulnerable and needy, it is there when we lack love for one another. It is there in the everyday evils we tend to ignore when they do not directly impact us, but which are no less grave. 

Evil is present in both our malice, and our indifference… it is, in that sense, both hot and cold. Perhaps, the counterbalance of evil is not simply “good”, as it is the highest form of good: love. Love is the only thing that can overcome both our malice and our indifference. We have seen the enemy, and it is all of us, ourselves included. 

How do we impact our world, then? By meeting every form of evil with every form of love, everywhere we go. 

Indeed, isn’t it possible that the hunger Christ experienced after his forty day fast was not only hunger for food, but for love - specifically the love found in human companionship, following forty days’ isolation?

How relevant this should be to us, living in a world that, despite our technological connectedness, is increasingly isolated at personal levels.

Don’t we all observe this hunger for companionship, for community, for relationship, everyday?

Doesn’t this hunger reside in our own hearts?

How often do we recognize it in the hearts of those around us?

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