By: Maggie Leonard
Reflection—v. 2, he ate nothing
Or maybe it was something else. Frequently when this story is told, it is stressed that after forty days of fasting, Jesus was hungry and weak. Moreover, when one is weak that is when he is most susceptible to temptation. This is when we are most likely to give in to evil compulses. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, suggests that in our suffering, our vulnerability, we are less likely to have our defenses up and therefore are more open to God. What a thought—that my vulnerability might make me more open to God, not the tempter. When we have nothing else to draw upon, that is precisely the moment in which we stop relying on ourselves and draw strength from the one who has long been ready to help. Just a few verses before this passage, in his baptism Jesus was named as ‘[God’s] son, the beloved,’ but that designation was not blessing or reason enough for him to do things alone. In this passage we see Jesus drawing on God and God’s word to resist deceptive promises. Perhaps our greatest lesson is to see our vulnerability as a gift and to consistently open ourselves to God’s love and help.
Prayer Holy God, you turn our weakness into strength. May we allow our vulnerability to become the sacred space that allows us to gather closer to you.