Read Luke 4:1-13
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone’”
After Jesus is baptised in the Jordan and in this way identifying with us fully, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him and anoints Him in a special way so He can start His ministry. But whilst the messianic figures of those days fought the Romans, Jesus came to do battle with the real enemy, the devil. The Lord always deals with the root problems not just the symptoms. The 3 temptations Jesus faces in the Judean Desert for 40 days mirror the 3 temptations that Israel faced in the 40 years of their journey in the Sinai Desert. Where they failed, He triumphed. And how did the devil attack? After the Father’s affirmation: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22) the devil tells Jesus; “If you are the Son of God…” He does the same with us. Like Jesus we need to use the same defense: the Word of God, which St Paul calls “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17). In our pilgrimage, we will ascend the Mount of Temptation in Jericho by cable car, and see the Quarantal Monastery which marks the place where Jesus spent His 40 days of prayer and fasting.
In Hebrew the desert is called midbar which derives from dabar means 'word'. So in the desert times of our lives, we are able to hear the Word of God with which we are empowered to overcome and prevail over the various temptations we are assailed with. The Word of God builds our faith, our total trust in God, and helps us gain victory. Of course this is a process and an ongoing battle. The important thing is that we keep up the struggle and never lose heart.
The desert is a place of scarce water and deep thirst. It is no wonder then that the Bible uses this imagery to signify the blessings of God “I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs” (Is 41:17).
“Lord help me feed on your daily bread, your Living Word and the Eucharist so I will be able to stand against the temptation to distrust You and to get discouraged. I thank you that I am indeed your son/daughter and ask you to help me live in that truth whenever the evil tempts me to doubt.”