04 March 2017

JESUS, THE HERO TO IMITATE

I SUNDAY OF LENT
genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; romans 5:12-19; matthew 4:1-11

at a first communion liturgy, the celebrant asked the candidates whom they wanted to imitate. there were different answers: one wanted to imitate hrithik roshan, another priyanka chopra, and one said «jesus».

the liturgy of the first sunday of lent presents jesus as the hero to imitate and follow. 


unfortunately, most of us imitate other heroes… especially adam (and eve)!
adam and eve succumbed to temptation in the garden. temptation came to them at three levels: physical (good for food); emotional (a delight to the eyes); and intellectual (to be desired to make one wise). 
but the foundation of the temptation (and the fall) was the doubt about GOD’s word that the serpent planted in eve’s mind: «did GOD say?»; and the blatant denial of that word: «you will not die.» 
and instead of enjoying all that was «very good», they chose the forbidden.

like adam, jesus was tempted. unlike adam, jesus does not succumb. after his baptism, he is clear about his identity as the son of GOD, and does not make choices which preclude him living his identity.
further, the three temptations in matthew’s account mirror the three tests israel faced in the desert. while israel—called son by GOD—failed each test, jesus is obedient son, does not. jesus
- refuses to mistrust GOD and to exploit his power to provide himself with bread, and manifests his total dependence on GOD. 
- refuses to seek proof of GOD’s presence with him; 
- affirms his uncompromising loyalty to GOD. 

our needs and desires—physical, emotional and intellectual—could become channels for temptation. 
how/when do my legitimate needs become channels for temptation? what triggers make me choose the forbidden instead of the good?

adam and eve failed in the garden. israel failed in the desert. they chose the easy way out, and failed to live their identity as GOD’s children. jesus did not fail in the desert; he is the obedient son.
what prevents me from living as GOD’s son/daughter? whom do i imitate: adam (and eve) or jesus?