Fr Brendan Byrne SJ reflects on this weekend’s Gospel:
Sometimes a sudden loss or illness or experience of failure, or even a trip overseas takes us out of our ‘comfort zones’. These are times when the usual things that support us and protect us from feeling insecure and vulnerable are stripped away.
What is really being stripped away is a false identity that rests on three things: 1. I am what I do, make or produce: 2. I am what people think of me—my importance; 3. I am what I have—possessions, gifts, talents, etc. All of these things we can lose—leading to depression if we have really invested our sense of worth in them.
The temptations Satan puts to Jesus during his “desert” experience involve much the same three things: 1. ‘Make bread out of these stones’; 2. ‘Impress people by making a spectacular leap from the pinnacle of the Temple’; 3. ‘You can possess the whole world if only you worship me’.
Jesus dismisses each suggestion, totally secure in his true identity as God’s beloved Son, an identity that, as elder Brother, he has shared with us.
Lent is a time when we are invited to go out with Jesus a little beyond our spiritual comfort zone. We share something of his ‘desert’ experience so as to know more deeply where our true identity and security lies: not in what we can make or do, nor in what other people think of us, nor in what we own, but in the fact that we are beloved sons and daughters of God.