Our associate pastor has a page in the bulletin each week. Lately he has been using this page to offer a reflection on the Sunday Gospel. It’s always worth a read, but I was particularly intrigued by Father H’s comments on the three temptations that Christ faced when he encountered Satan in the desert.
The first temptation. The tempter says: If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread. Jesus answers: One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Jesus’ hunger is the occasion for the first temptation. That word ‘bread’ refers to everything that is essential to live. It refers to that astounding array of possessions that feed, clothe, shelter, sustain, transport, and amuse us. But these very things can distract us from giving God His due. Jesus says that the full meaning of life cannot be reduced to what is visible, edible, tangible, or collectible. The core of being human lies elsewhere: in every Word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus says that God’s desires for humanity and not those of the tempter, will define His life and mission. We may ask: who are those who live by bread alone? We may also wonder if the story of how we may have lost touch with our sacred traditions, the great yet-to-be-told story of our Church? Lent may be a good time to recover the meaning of these sacred traditions.
What an excellent question to ask during Lent. Do I live by bread alone? For that matter, do I nourish my family by bread alone? Sure, I provide for physical needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. And then there’s all the “stuff.” But really, all that is bread alone. Have I nourished my family in other ways–not just the physical ways? Have I nourished myself and my family in spiritual ways?