My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Even if you choose not to watch the series I would like to challenge you to make your Lenten resolutions focus on Jesus not on yourself. The whole purpose of those acts of piety is not to make yourself complacent at the end of Lent or to report to your Facebook friends that you had no chocolate or grog for the whole of Lent. On the contrary it is all about making Jesus the center of your life.
In the Gospel we heard that Jesus went in to the desert. However his desert excursion had nothing to do with the holiday package which was advertised a couple of weeks ago in a newspaper. It read: “Be adventurous. Experience the harshness of the desert. Come and stay in our five star luxurious cabins.” A few years ago when I walked that desert in the Holy Land, after a few days, in spite of applying SPF30+ sunblock, I looked like an overcooked roast. That’s the harshness of the desert. However the harshness Jesus was exposed to, as we could hear in the Gospel, wasn’t limited only to the high temperature and the Sun hitting hard. Our Blessed Lord entered a much dramatic situation of ours: the battle between good and evil.
Before I go on, tell me: who is a heretic?.... The word heretic means to choose. To grasp it, we can visualize a heretic as a Christian who reads the Bible and as he or she comes across something they don’t like they tear out that page from the Holy Scriptures. Look that’s what the devil did during the conversation with Jesus in today’s Gospel. The unclean spirit appears to be a good Scripture scholar. He knows the Bible. He knows how to quote the Bible. He is so good at the Bible that he knows how to skip some pages of the Word of God. He manipulates the Bible.
My Dear Fellow believers! In the Holy Scriptures we find pages which are challenging, confronting, calling us to conversion but in all of them there is life. There is fullness of life as they transmit God’s life into our human condition. Jesus said: “My words are truth and they are life.”
It is part of our human existence to struggle with those challenging words. If you find some of them challenging fight with the Lord Jesus over those words in the same way the Patriarch Jacob fought with the angel as the book of Genesis tells us. Tell Jesus: “My Lord it is difficult what you call me to do. Lots of people tell me that it is OK but you tell me that it is not the way to go. I find it hard to change. I don’t want to change. What should I do?” Keep on finding my friends and I promise you that I will pray very hard for you so that you may lose this battle. I mean that you may lose this fight to Jesus. I will pray very hard so that you may surrender to the Lord Jesus because then you will find the fullness of life.