OUR GREAT TEMPTATION
The scene of «Jesus’ temptations» is a story that we don’t need to interpret lightly. The temptations that are described aren’t exactly of the moral order. The story is warning us of how we could ruin our lives if we leave the path that Jesus follows.
The first temptation is of decisive importance, since it can pervert and corrupt our life at its root. Apparently Jesus is being offered something innocent and good: put God at the service of his hunger. «If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves».
However Jesus reacts quickly and surprisingly: «Human beings live not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God». Don’t make your own bread an absolute. Don’t put God at the service of your own interest, forgetting the Father’s project. Always seek first God’s reign and God’s justice. At every moment listen to God’s Word.
Our needs won’t get satisfied only by securing our bread. Human beings need and yearn for much more. In order to even rescue from hunger and misery those who don’t have bread, we need to listen to God our Father, and awaken in our conscience the hunger for justice, compassion, solidarity.
Our great temptation today is to change everything into bread: we reduce more and more the horizon of our lives to the mere satisfaction of our desires, we run around obsessed with a well-being that keeps growing larger, or make a consumerism that is indiscriminate and without limits into our one and only goal.
We deceive ourselves if we think that this is the path to follow toward progress and liberation. Aren’t we seeing that a society that drags people to a consumerism without limits and to self-satisfaction, does nothing more than generate emptiness and meaninglessness in people, along with selfishness, alienation and irresponsibility in our living together?
Why does it startle us that the number of people who commit suicide grows tragically greater every day? Why do we keep ourselves closed up in our false wellbeing, raising even more inhumane barriers so that the hungry don’t get into our countries, can’t reach our neighborhoods or knock on our door?
Jesus’ call can help us to be more aware that human beings don’t live by bread alone. Human beings also need to cultivate the spirit, know love and friendship, develop solidarity with those who suffer, listen to our conscience responsibly, open ourselves to the final Mystery of a life with hope.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf