Since he clings to me, I rescue him (Psalm 91.14)

After forty days without food, one is really hungry.
So the evil one instantly grabs the opportunity:
“What a fool you are! Aren’t you the Son of God?
Tell these stones to turn into loaves, so you will have something to eat.
Everyone needs to eat!”

The devil throws the same bait to us continually.
Food. Security. Comfort. Bread.
So we tell our children:
“Study, my son, because today you can’t do anything without the necessary diplomas.”
So we grab every opportunity to work more … two jobs, overtime, whatever.
We work so much and we worry so much.
We need money.
Everything in life is so expensive nowadays.
And we busy ourselves so much that we don’t have time for anything else.
If necessary we go as far as selling our soul to the devil,
We put our parents in a nursing home (for their own good!).
We break relationships because of money.
We betray our principles in order to get more income.
We choose not to have more children because children cost us more money today.

This is precisely why Jesus Christ is clear:
“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”.
Better God in your heart than a huge bank account!

The devil does not give up.
“Look, dear Jesus, no one knows you.
You are just a carpenter from a small village.
I’ll tell you what to do.
Choose a day when there are many people in the temple,
go up on the temple parapet,
and throw yourself down.
Don’t worry – nothing will happen to you.
The psalmist says that the angels will carry you in their arms.
Then the people will give you a standing ovation and hail you as the Messiah.
You need to be successful to reach your goal.
What’s wrong with changing your story in your favour?!”

The devil is just as devious with us.
He whispers in our ears: why should you be happy with what you have?
Let us face it…why did God make me more pretty?
why can’t I do what I want with my life?
Why all this pain,
these illnesses,
all these handicapped people?

We find it so hard to accept reality as it is.
We want things to be better than they are.
We want to explain to God what He should do.
We know better than him!
How wise Jesus is in his reply to Satan:
“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
That is, let God work out your story
and do not get upset when things go His way and not your way.

The devil however keeps pressing.
And he promises Jesus success, fame and power.
“All this I give to you…”
But Jesus knows that success is just a soap bubble.
He knows only too well that if the grain of wheat does not die, it will not bear much fruit.
Jesus does not let the devil deceive him.
And behold… the angels came to minister to him.

We on the contrary, are puppets in the devil’s hands.
He plays games with us as he wishes.
But – this is the GREAT NEWS –
Jesus gives himself to us gratuitously.
And so we too, with Him fighting the battle for us,
will be able to trample the devil underfoot in our lives.

“Remember the long road by which Yahweh
your God,
led you for forty years in the desert,
to humble you, to test you,
and know your inmost heart,
whether you would keep his commandments
or not.
He humbled you, he made you feel hunger,
He fed you with manna,
which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known,
to make you understand that human beings live not on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh.
The clothes on your back did not wear out,
and your feet were not swollen, all those forty years…”
(Deuteronomy 8.2-4)


 

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.