Skip to comments.Christ's temptation and ours
Posted on 03/08/2009 2:30:35 PM PDT by NYer
The Spirit that "drove" Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12) is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the bond of love between God the Father and God the Son. Christ was tempted three times as an act of love to prepare his Church for three temptations which would assault her in every generation.
Satan tested Christ to figure out if he truly was divine: "If you are the Son of God . . ." So Satan also tempts the Church, not to discern her holiness as the Body of Christ, but to test whether Christians will be faithful to that holiness.
Satan first tempts the Church to turn stones into bread: to reduce the Church to a human creature devoid of supernatural charisms. The Church is the world's greatest feeder of the poor, but unless she feeds souls, she is redundant in a materialist culture. Satan wants to replace Communion lines with bread lines, as if the Body of Christ were nothing more than temporal sustenance. But Christ is Our Saviour and not Our Philanthropist. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you" (John 6:53).
Secondly, Satan tempts the Church to mock herself, as he wanted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and survive. This test will see whether Christians will take up the daily crosses of life with Christ in a broken world, or engage grace as a kind of New Age energy arrogated to ourselves without moral obedience to natural law. To fly against nature is to live in an unreal world, claiming to be Catholic without living as Catholics. Satan wants us to "take Communion" on our terms rather than "receive Communion" on Christ's terms. St. Paul would not fly that way: "He who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks his own condemnation; and for this reason many of you are weak, and ill, and some have died" (1 Cor. 11:29-30).
Thirdly, the Church is tempted with earthly power. Cardinal Consalvi reminded Napoleon that the Church's power is not from earthly rulers. Pius XII said that Stalin would be able to count the Church's divisions only after he died. The two Thomases, Becket and More, made similar remonstrances with their own blood. In the history of the Church, Judas was the first to accept a government grant in exchange for doing evil. The Church is entering a time of severe testing, and she will be crucified in ways more tortuous than nails, for she will be jeered by journalists and patronized by politicians and menaced by false messiahs, but in the end the Church's despisers will hear severe words: "You could have no power at all against me, were it not given you from above; so he who delivered me to you has the greater sin" (John 19:11).
On those rare occasions when sent to NYC on business, I make a poit of allowing a few minutes to drop into the Church of Our Saviour. In the hectic din of Manhattan, that Church is an oasis of quiet peace and tranquil reflection.
I have watched Fr. Rutler's program Christ in the City on EWTN. He is a deep and profound thinker. He was good friends with Fr. Richard John Neuhas. If my memory still serves me, I believe he delivered the homily at Fr. Neuhaus' funeral.
He was also the first person to leave Mass early.
Thank you for that. I haven’t watched EWTN as much as I was last fall because of concern about the things going on in Washington. Since it is abundantly clear that all of my ranting and worrying won’t help, I am going back to EWTN.
And I also love “Christ in the City.” Thanks for the reminder!
Fr. Rutler nails it as usual.
This is Lent - the perfect time to keep the tv tuned to EWTN. It serves as a balm to soothe nerves frazzled by world events. Here you will find solace and much prayer, our own response to the evil that surrounds us. One program you won't want to miss airs Sunday evenings at 10pm. Fr. Bill Casey, Superior General of the Fathers of Mercy, is presenting his lenten meditations. The great comfort in watching EWTN is recognizing that we are not alone in our struggle against the enemy.
AAhh, we just ‘happened’ to find that church on our first trip to NYC, ONE week after coming into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. The mural is breath-takingly beautiful, just lovely. And out walks Father Rutler, our tv-friend!