When we think of being led by the Spirit, we often consider being led into places of peace, comfort and closeness to God. When the Spirit of God is called “consoler” and “comforter,” who wouldn’t want to be led by the Spirit?
Now, on the first Sunday of Lent, we might ask if we really want to be led by the Spirit. Now, the Spirit leads us with Jesus, into the desert. How prepared are we to take this journey for Lent?
Most of us are comfortable and “at home” in familiar surroundings with supportive and understanding people. As we begin Lent, the Gospel presents us with an uncomfortable situation. Jesus is led into the desert and it is a place where he is not “at home.” A desert can disorient us and face us with essential life questions such as: “Who are you?” and “Who is your God?"
The Spirit leads Jesus into the desert and Satan gives him three tests. Will he choose physical comfort or fidelity to God? Will he choose domination and power or trust in God? Will he choose to test God or be confident that God is with him even when he is in trouble?
These temptations come to Jesus at a time when he is in “peak” spiritual condition. Luke tells us he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” when he was led to the desert and tempted. Even when we feel we are spiritually fortified through religious observances, devotions and spiritual practices, we, too, can become vulnerable to temptation.
This Lent, let us discover what God is doing for us with gifts of fidelity, trust and confidence in times of trouble. This was where Jesus was most “at home.” This is why he could follow the Spirit wherever the Spirit leads. This too will be the place where we will come home to our best selves and discover the Spirit of God moving us to a life in imitation of Jesus.
~ Rosemarie Greco, DW