Lk: 4, 1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Jesus Rejects the Easy Way Out

In today’s Gospel, Jesus confronts the problem of suffering. Jesus subjects himself to homelessness, isolation, and starvation. He takes no easy way out. Rather than using his power or privilege to make bread, he becomes the bread of life we live on. Refusing to gain power and glory by bowing to something other than God, he commits himself to poverty and humility and shows that he is the true Lord. Rather than throwing himself from the temple and demonstrating he can save himself from death, he aims to show us his love by letting himself be killed.

Depending on where your spirit is, this may be an invitation to not take the easy way out of something, or to enter into or be alongside another person’s suffering rather than trying to fix or flee from it. It may invite awe of and inspiration in the person of Jesus. Does it stir something else in you?

—David J. Herr, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Midwest Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

 

Prayer

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices. Amen.

—St. Teresa of Avila