Lure of Power, Wealth and Glory

by | Mar 1, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus wears the crown of glory since he rejected the devil’s lure and suffered death.  The Crucified is model of true grit; we fix our gaze on him.

The Holy Spirit who came down on Jesus in the Jordan now leads him to the desert.  There, the one who embodies the truth comes face to face with the father of lies and lure.

And the lure is not just for one day.  For after he fails, the devil leaves, yes, but only for a time.  For he waits for the next chance to lure Jesus.

The devil does the same to us.  And, in fact, to go through trials is part of being human.  That is to say, temptations and the lure he uses are not foreign to us, but only human (1 Cor 10, 13).

And Jesus shares our flesh and blood (Heb 2, 14).  And that is why he lets the devil to lure him, though he does not sin (Heb 4, 15).  The new Adam does not do as the old Adam.

The old Adam lets the illusion to be like God, knowing good and evil, fool him.  In effect, he wanted to make himself absolute and not relying on his Creator, free from death too.

The new Adam, on the other hand, does not leave God in exchange for bread, power and not dying.  He prefers to be with God and stay true to his mission.

So, Jesus does not use God for his own needs.  He is not concerned about his problems, but about God’s kingdom and justice, about the bread for all.

Hence, he refuses to change the stone into bread; later, he will not go down from the cross to save himself.  For he does not live on bread alone.  He does not worship power, glory, wealth; he bows down only in God’s presence.  Nor does he like to show off, or he would tempt God, manipulate him, force his hand.

Model of true grit before the devil’s lure

No, there is no doubt that Jesus is human.  This is clear even in the genealogy of Jesus in the accounts by Matthew, Mark and Luke.

But what make stand out what Luke says is that he traces Jesus’ line all way back to God (3, 38).  Does he mean to tell us that Jesus is one of us so that we may be one with God?

As he lets the devil to lure him, and as he turns him down, Jesus opens to us the gates of salvation.  To be one with God and our neighbor is crucial, yes, even to the end.  To the giving up of our bodies and the shedding of our blood.

We will be far from God’s word if we go near the devil, worried about our security, obsessed with power, with glitz and glamour.  And we will not know peace.  Nor will we do, for fear to lose our lives and what we own, as St. Vincent in times of war.  For instance, to speak truth to power.

Lord Jesus, grant that we follow your example of true grit.  See to it that we do not falter in the face of the devil’s lure and the hardships of life.

6 March 2022
First Sunday of Lent (C)
Dt 26, 4-10; Rom 10, 8-13; Lk 4, 1-13