Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Brother Jim Branigan, C.S.C. '69
I don't think you or I will ever find ourselves in a desert for 40 days and forty nights. From time to time we might wish ourselves there to flee the ever present hectic madness of our day to day living in our often crazed world. Oh to be free of it all!!!!! Luckily for many of us the crazed madness seems to stay far enough away to give us some peace of mind and restful hearts.
The desert as a "great escape" wouldn't be a source of "temptation". It would be a place where we might have the opportunity to reflect on all the love in our life - a God who constantly takes us to his heart and cares so much for us; God's loving presence embodied in family and friends who are ready to be there for us, but sometimes never given the opportunity to be so because of the "crazed madness".
The demon of Jesus' experience is alive and well in our day to day. The "temptation" is to allow ourselves to be consumed by the "crazed madness" and sadly, as a side effect, make it a part of the life of those around us. We are led to believe that in the midst of "all" is to be found the hope we have for a life of exciting fulfillment. As we make our way to this supposed life of total satisfaction we soon meet the product of our "consumption" - a life without hope, a life of frustration and hopelessness and sadly a life without the loving presence of family and friends because they have been pushed aside.
Let us try during Lent to find our way to the quiet "desert" of peace and tranquility and reflect on and begin to know and feel God's loving presence. Let us try to restore in our lives hopefulness by more often surrounding ourselves with the presence of family and friends celebrating our care, concern and love for one another.
As Jesus went forth from the desert of temptation he soon found himself in the presence of his Father and his disciples and together beginning the great work of building God's kingdom on earth. Let us make our way to the desert for reflection and restoration of the life we are meant to have; a life in God's kingdom creating great hope among all those whose lives we touch, liberating them from the hopelessness of the "crazed madness" of our world by our loving presence.