DON’T LOSE TRACK OF JESUS
The first Christian generations were very interested in the testing that Jesus had to overcome to keep himself faithful to God and live always working on God’s project of a more human and dignified life for all.
The story of Jesus’ temptations isn’t an isolated episode that happens in one moment and in a certain place. Luke gives us notice that when these temptation were over «the devil left him until the opportune moment». The temptations will return in Jesus’ life and in the lives of his followers.
That’s why the Gospel writers place this story before telling of Jesus’ prophetic activity. His followers must know well these temptations from the get-go, since they will have to overcome these same ones throughout the centuries if they don’t want to lose track of Jesus.
The first temptation talks about bread. Jesus resists using God to satisfy his own hunger: «Human beings live not on bread alone». What’s important for Jesus is seeking God’s reign and God’s justice: may there be bread for everyone. That’s why one day he will come begging to God, but it will be to feed a hungry crowd.
Today also our temptation is to think just in our bread and worry exclusively about our crisis. We lose track of Jesus when we believe ourselves as deserving to have everything, and forgetting the drama, fears and sufferings of those who lack almost everything.
The second temptation talks about power and glory. Jesus renounces all that. He doesn’t bow before the devil who offers to hand over to him all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus doesn’t ever seek to be served, but to serve.
Today also there awakens in some Christians the temptation to maintain however possible the power that the Church has had in times past. We lost track of Jesus when we put pressure on people’s consciences, trying to impose our beliefs by force. God’s reign opens up paths for them when we work for a world that’s has more compassion and solidarity.
The third temptation proposes to Jesus that he descend in grandiose manner in front of the people, held up by God’s angels. Jesus doesn’t allow himself to be led astray. Though people would ask it of him, he will never do a spectacular sign from heaven. He will dedicate himself to do signs of goodness in order to ease the suffering and the pains of the people.
We lose track of Jesus when we confuse our own flaunting with God’s glory. Our exhibition doesn’t reveal God’s greatness. Only a life of humble service to those in need manifests and spreads God’s Love.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf