It may surprise you that we do not begin this year with Abraham but rather with the nomadic tribes down to Egypt. In the following Sundays we will hear the story of the call of Abraham, then the call of Moses and then the first Passover in Canaan. It is a record of God’s care for his people. In the Gospel for the first week of Lent, Jesus is tested in the wilderness. In this account he rejects power, status, and authority for himself; rather he commits himself to the other, to the building of God’s dream for the creation. Today’s Gospel is also found in Matthew and Mark. Luke changes the order from Matthew so that the temptations come to their climax in Jerusalem. There is jousting between Jesus and the tempter, some call the devil. Jesus is putting his faith in God. He is making life and death decisions.
We all face moments even times of temptations and often our vulnerability gets the better of us and we make the wrong choice or decision. Some refer to this as our propensity to sin and I will be speaking about this on Sunday. There has also been much criticism of the term the devil in recent times, suggesting that some external being or force is prevalent in our lives when we do the wrong thing. Likewise, the word sin has dropped from our common language and there is confusion even among Christians as to what the word means. For the non-believer the word sin maybe meaningless. Jesus, like you and I, wrestled with the forces of evil and destruction. At times we are influenced and distracted by all matters of life that seek to divert us from the right and proper way to be human, created in the image of God. As we reflect on today’s readings may we listen to the still voice of God that calls us to attach ourselves to Jesus, that reflects the unconditional love, mercy, and justice of God.