Gospel: Mk 1:12-15
The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration that “at the heart of all temptations… is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights without reference to God, building on our own foundations; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion…”
We may question what is so evil about these since they do not harm others. Perhaps, their consequences are too indirect to be obvious.
When God is absent, who do we benchmark our lives against? ‘Good’ becomes subjective; our choices become reactions of our feelings, whims and fancies. ‘I’ become the pivot of life; the common good for the wider community gives way to the satisfaction of worldly temptations - materialism, pride, power and glory. We have a population who is starving to death, oppressed, exploited and marginalised to safeguard the power, wealth and prestige of the very people who have precisely ‘set God aside as an illusion’.
Jesus overcame all temptations by focusing His heart persistently on His Father, His first priority.
What are your temptations?