Today’s Gospel: Mark 1:9-15
This past December, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Cathedral’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This was my first visit to the Holy Land and it was a powerful experience to visit the places where Jesus walked and talked, lived and died. During our pilgrimage, we were able to spend some time in the desert and I had the opportunity to imagine what it must have been like for Jesus in the midst of that barren landscape. In that part of the world, the desert is a beautiful but forbidding place.
Scripture tells us that Jesus was being tempted by the devil while he was in the desert. What does that mean? It means that Jesus was wrestling with what kind of person he was going to be and where he would place his allegiance. Would he give himself and his life to doing God’s work or would he chase after worldly comforts and the desire for power? Would God be at the center of his life or would he reserve that place for the needs of his own ego? Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark doesn’t give us many details about Jesus’ time in the wilderness, but we know he emerges from this experience ready to begin his ministry.
During this Lenten season spend some time asking yourself: What are my priorities? Where does faithfulness to God rank in my life? Have I been striving to love my neighbor? Do I actively struggle to forgive those who have wronged me? Where does my own desire for power, wealth, prestige or success get in the way of my relationship with God?
Having the right priorities, having God properly placed in the hierarchy of our values, is always a struggle. We are not Jesus, we are not perfect. But the God of love constantly calls us into deeper relationship and in order to respond to that call, we too have to wrestle with our demons. What are your demons, what threatens to pull you away from God and what are you willing to do about it?
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
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