Serving Christ or Pride?

Weekly Missionary Reflection
1st Week of Lent, 06 March 2022

Deut. 26:4-10; Ps. 91:1-2,10-11,12-13,14-15; Rom. 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

The devil tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness. Eventually, Jesus successfully defeated the devil. The devil backed off and waited for another chance for tempting again. The Church puts this story at the beginning of the Lent Session, in order for us to make Jesus our example to endure the temptation. What is the key to His success?

First, from the beginning, Luke said that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (v. 1). During the baptism, Holy Spirit descended upon Him, as She shaded His mother when He was conceived. So when Jesus entered the wilderness, He was ready for the battle. Luke even emphasized that the Holy Spirit led Him in (instead of “to”) the wilderness (4:1). The presence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the key to His success in defeating the devil’s temptation. Lent is a time for you and I to ask for Holy Spirit’s protection and guidance. This power of God is the source of our life and strength in going through trials and overcoming temptations.

Second, Jesus faced the temptation by holding God’s words. Three temptations of the devil were resisted by three Divine words. Being famished after eating nothing for 40 days is a superlative famine. The devil saw this condition as the first chance for tempting. Food is our basic need. Food is part of identity. People say: you are what you eat! However, humans are often tempted to over-strive for food, even to oppress one another. Greed, waste, and injustice mostly go together. Jesus taught us not to absolute the physical food: “One does not live by bread alone” (4:4). Our source of life does not only come from food, but also from God’s Words.

Third, Jesus faced the temptation by continuously being obedient in serving the Father. The authority and power of Jesus came from the Father in Heaven. Jesus was tempted to claim all the powers as His own, and even as the gift of the devil (v. 6-7). This is an eternal temptation. How often human beings ally with the evil force and intrigue to gain power and pride! How often religion is utilized by the hunters and traders of power! Jesus taught you and me that our worship and service are only for the Lord, not for the sake of power and pride.

Fourth, keep believing in Father’s love and care. The people of Israel were tested for 40 years by the Lord to make them obedient. Jesus was also tested by the devil for 40 days to make Him doubting the Father’s faith and care. The devil didn’t question Jesus’s status as the Son of God. But it tempted Jesus to reverse the meaning: A Son who believes in His Father or a Son who utilizes His status? For Jesus: it’s unnecessary to test and show off His Father’s love and care in an exaggerating way. Jesus fully believed in His Father’s love and care to the end: when He showed His obedience on the Cross, without trying to save Himself (Luke 23:35, 37). He teaches you and me to keep believing in Father’s love and care, without seeking proof and sensation.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:

For Universal Churches: Facing the challenge of bioethics
We pray for the Christians who face the new challenge of bioethics; may they keep on defending the dignity of all humanity with prayer and action.

For Indonesian Churches intention: Political devotion
May in this democratic world all political elites and government use their authority to serve and organize the society, instead of dominating them.

Amen

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