Skip to comments.Christ's temptation and ours (Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent)
Posted on 02/15/2010 8:59:25 PM PST by Salvation
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).
Father George William Rutler. Weekly Column for March 8, 2009.
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.
Note that it is the Spirit, not Satan, that leads him into the desert to be tempted. It is, therefore, part of the divine plan that he should suffer these temptations. Perhaps he cannot discern his true destiny without considering and rejecting certain alternatives.
Remember the three temptations which are put to Christ:
Thanks for this post.
BXVI in his Book “On The Way To Jesus Christ” uses these temptations to refute the modern day demand by atheists that if Christ were God why doesn’t he do something demonstrably spectacular to prove himself. It was no different that that of the unrepentant thief who demanded that Christ prove Himself by coming down from the Cross. Christ, as Benedict XVI informs us, has already answered this in His response to the three temptations.
Yes, this passage shows us the Christ as man. A model for us to resist Satan in all temptations. Although we have niether the knowledge nor the power that Christ has.
I especially like the part you posted about this disproving the taunt to Jesus on the Cross. Wow!