No one is more near to us than Jesus, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. He is “God-with-us.”
He is near us in many ways. He is within our reach in the least of his brothers and sisters, in those who are maltreated and oppressed. He is present, as SC 7 teaches, in the Church and in her liturgical celebrations.
But what is crucial is our availing of his being near to encounter him personally, in such a way that he infects us with his Spirit. And if we are really animated by the Spirit, we will behave like Jesus and live, just like him also, by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Additionally, if we know Jesus intimately, because we stay near him, and imitate him by turning to the word of God when tempted, we will not succumb.
The Word of God exposes the lies of the one who comes disguised as an angel of light, with his distortions of Scriptures. This one loves to put up a great display of wealth and power to deceive people, so that they may turn to him and drink deeply of his words.
Moreover, the Word of God teaches those in training “not to create for themselves a god tailored to their whims and their immediate temporal needs, a domesticated god.” But we Christians are warned not only of the idols that we easily fabricate for ourselves, but also of abuse of trust that is nothing more than our attempt to control God and force his hand.
We do not altogether let the Word cleanse us, do we? Do not our private personal prayers reveal perhaps that we really do not believe in the Transcendent God “who is beyond what we think we need, what we, in our daily pettiness, desire?”
Surely, we enthrone the devil in some way by falling short with regard to the teaching:
Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be the first among you will be the slave of all.
Do we not succumb to temptation just like that person who told St. Vincent de Paul (SV.FR XI:346) “that to lead well and to maintain authority, it is necessary to let everyone see who is the Superior?”
And are we not guilty of loathsome abuse when we affirm Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, but not in those who are hungry that we disregard?
Word of the Father, please be to Christians the sword of the Spirit.
February 14, 2016
1st Sunday of Lent (C)
Dt 26, 4-10; Rom 10, 8-13; Lk 4, 1-13