Lent, 1st Sunday (A) Jesus fasts in the desert for 40 days and is tempted by the Devil. The “in” the Devil uses to tempt Jesus are three great human fears. Let’s look at each one.
- Fear of being Empty.
It’s also the fear of being hungry, of being homeless, of not having enough, of never being satisfied, of being unfulfilled. It drives us to own more and eat more than we need, “Just in case.” How does Jesus answer this fear? He doesn’t need to fill himself because, “My Father will fill me.”
- Fear of being Alone.
The Devil insinuates that God might not always be there to take care of Jesus. This fear is also the fear of being forgotten, rejected, abandoned, and unloved. It leads us to relationships that are unhealthy because we don’t want to be alone. Jesus does not have to be afraid because his Father won’t abandon him.
- Fear of being Powerless.
The Devil offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Who hasn’t been afraid of being a failure, or felt powerless in the face of criticism or a bully? But Jesus says that the Father’s power is enough for him. The Devil leaves, and angels minister to him.
These fears caused Adam and Eve to reject God. They weren’t sure they could depend on God and so they wanted to find a way to fill themselves, to not be abandoned, and to find their own power. Jesus is content to depend on God. He goes all the way to the cross and suffers the full measure of all three fears. Then he rises from the dead, proving that the Father will fill us, will not abandon us, and will give us power beyond measure. Will we stand with Jesus and trust the Father? If you will, then renew your baptismal promises… (13 Mar 2011)