In today’s Gospel Jesus has just been baptized and hears a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” The Spirit then leads him into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He is tempted three times. Each temptation urges him to act against who he is as a Beloved Son, and the kind of messiah he was called to be. Leaning on the Spirit, he is given the strength to resist the temptations, and eventually send the Devil away.
We too are often tempted to act contrary to who we are as a child beloved by God, as a follower of Christ, and as the person of integrity we want to be before God, our family, and the community.
In my experience, temptation often seems to be lying in wait for me. It is there before I am, and it acts quickly. Looking back after giving into the temptation, I feel that I was led astray. It happened too fast.
It seems to me that what we need to do in times of temptation is to put on the brakes and slow things down. Stop and think of just who we are as a beloved child of God and a person of integrity. Then lean on God by going to that place deep inside of us where we have developed a close relationship with God. Open ourselves to the Spirit, which will give us the strength to say “NO” to the temptation.
In the words of the popular song “Lean on Me,” in times of temptation, when we “are not strong,” we can “lean on” God, and God will help us “carry on.”
Father Ron Victor