Friday, February 15, 2013

Not deviating from Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
February 17, 2013

Luke 4:1-13

The first generations of Christians were very interested in the trials and stresses that Jesus had to overcome to remain faithful to God and always be working on His plan for a more humane and dignified life for all.

The account of the temptation of Jesus is not a closed episode that occurs at a particular time and place. Luke warns us that, at the end of these temptations, "the devil left for a time." Temptations will come back in Jesus' life and that of his followers.

So the evangelists put in this story before narrating Jesus' prophetic activity. His followers have to know these temptations well from the beginning, as they're the same ones they will have to overcome throughout the centuries, if they don't want to deviate from him.

The first temptation is about bread. Jesus refuses to use God to satisfy his own hunger: "Not by bread alone does man live." The first thing for Jesus is to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness -- that there may be bread for all. So he will turn to God one day, but it will be to feed a hungry crowd.

Today too, our temptation is to think only of our bread and worry only about our crisis. We deviate from Jesus when we believe we're entitled to have it, and forget the tragedy, fears and suffering of those who lack almost everything.

The second temptation is about power and glory. Jesus renounces all that. He will not bow down to the devil who offers him sovereignty over all the kingdoms of the world --"You shall worship the Lord, your God." Jesus will never seek to be served but to serve.

Today too, the temptation to maintain the power that the Church has had in the past as it is, stirs in some Christians. We deviate from Jesus when we put pressure on consciences by trying to forcibly impose our beliefs. We open the way to the kingdom of God when we work for a more compassionate and caring world.

In the third temptation, it is proposed to Jesus that he come down before the people in a grandiose way, sustained by God's angels. Jesus doesn't let himself be fooled -- "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test." Although he is asked to, he will never give a spectacular sign from heaven. He will only offer signs of kindness to alleviate the suffering and ailments of the people.

We deviate from Jesus when we confuse our own ostentation with the glory of God. Our show doesn't reveal God's greatness. Only a life of humble service to the needy expresses his love for all his children.

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