Jesus does not look out for his interests, but for those of others. To follow him we need to be in communion among ourselves and with others.
The devil seeks to break up Jesus’ communion with others. For what he is after is for Jesus to turn his back on his calling and mission. He does not want Jesus to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom. Nor does he want him curing every disease and illness among the people.
The devil, rather, wants Jesus to be a conquering Messiah who destroys his enemies. He wants Jesus to be a king who surpasses other kings in wealth and grandeur. In the devil’s mind, then, Jesus should not serve others, but force them instead to serve him. He must be far apart from people, and not in communion with them.
Jesus is for communion, not alienation.
To carry out, then, what he has in mind, the devil tells Jesus to look out for his interests and needs. But he does not give in to the tempter. He refuses to use God as a means to his own satisfaction. For the word of God fills him. His food is doing the will of his Father (Jn 4, 32), which is the way to undo Adam’s disobedience.
Jesus, then, does not let his hunger get in the way of his seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Later on, of course, he will multiply loaves and fish for the hungry crowd. Being in communion with those in need, he feels their hunger. And so, he sees to it that they have their fill.
To live in communion is to have trust.
Next, the devil asks Jesus to prove himself. And again, Jesus says “no.” He knows who he is. So, he does not need to prove himself to anyone, much less, to the devil.
Besides, Jesus is sure of his Father’s love and protection. Since he trusts him absolutely and lives in communion with him, he will not put him to the test. He is not going to force his Father’s hand.
Communion means giving one’s life for others.
Finally, the devil shows his true colors. No longer quoting Scriptures, he brazenly asks Jesus to put wealth and grandeur ahead of his calling and mission. The devil wants Jesus to worship him, the personification of greed, the root of all evil.
But Jesus rebuffs the devil. For Jesus, as all his answers show, God’s grace, love, is enough, and so he asks for nothing more. In other words, he serves God alone and does God’s bidding. And true to his God-given calling and mission, he is ready to serve others. To give his body up and pour out his blood for them.
Is our readiness like that of Jesus, with whom we say we are in communion?
Lord Jesus, let us not be among those who, having enough to eat, do not bother about anything else (SV.EN XII:81). Grant, too, that greed and lack of communion do not spoil everything (SV.EN IX:390; SV.EN XI:137). And may we never showboat, but rather think of ourselves as useless servants who cannot do anything without you (CRCM XII:14).
1 March 2020
First Sunday of Lent (A)
Gen 2, 7-9; 3, 1-7; Rom 5, 12-19; Mt 4, 1-11