Jesus is the Good News for all the moments of joy, light, sorrow and glory. Are we his followers such Good News?
Matthew’s account of the temptation of Jesus has eleven verses; Luke’s, thirteen. But there are just two in Mark’s. The two show that Jesus spends moments of trial and of peace in the desert.
Yes, there are moments of trial. For the Opponent tempts Jesus. And the struggle between Good and Evil does not stop here.
But Jesus is stronger, as his driving out of demons will later prove. And the moments of peace also show it.
No, there is no doubt that Jesus wins and enjoys moments of peace. For the account says that he is with wild beasts and that angels serve him. And it also means that it is the time for the Messiah to bring us back to the Garden of Eden and to bring in the kingdom of God.
So, the two verses say much. And one may read besides between the lines what C.S. Lewis seems to say.
Moments of fall and of grace
It seems to C.S. Lewis that evil wins not so much as it tempts us in a grand way. It is better for the Father of lies that temptation does not stand out. And that it does not look like it has to do with what is no doubt bad. That is why Satan turns up as an angel of light. And he makes moments of hardship look easy, too. And so, one falls little by little, till the shocking and worst fall happens, before one knows it.
Do not little moments of good works, by the same token, lead to great moments of good works also? After all, one usually starts small and lowly that God blesses and which leads to surprises (SV.EN II:351; SV.EN XII:8).
It is true, we have to have dreams and ideals (see SV.EN XII:82). But we are not to overlook the good that is before us, by the grace of God. That is, we are to “to do the things God shows us that he wants us to do.”
Also, grace has its moments (SV.EN II:499). That is to say, no moment of life comes by chance, but by Providence. For chance or coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous (Einstein). Hence, we must be in the hands of Providence. We will thus be at the right place at the right time.
Yes, God is in the rhythm of life, though he hides. For he has made a covenant with Noah, his offspring and the animals. He is even in the waters of the flood so that they point to baptism. And Jesus is with those who received it. With them, yes, in all the mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory of life.
Lord Jesus, make our moments of lowliness this Lent as drill exercises and discipline. May they thus hone our skills that we may be ready for the great moment that startles and leaves all speechless (Is 52, 15). Namely, the moment of total surrender that our sharing in your Supper entails.
21 February 2021
First Sunday of Lent (B)
Gen 9, 8-15; 1 Pt 3, 18-22; Mk 1, 12-15