Lent is a time of preparation, when we work to overcome temptations and grow in holiness and fidelity to Christ. It’s fitting that the first Sunday reading during this Season of Lent focuses on our Lord’s own forty days in the desert. Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle, joined Morning Air to discuss Sunday’s Gospel reading, Luke 4:1-13.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. Luke 4:1-2
“As Jesus went to the desert for forty days, so we’re preparing now through our experience of Lent in these forty days for the celebration of our Lord’s death and Resurrection. That number forty is really a very deeply symbolic number especially in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. We might remember that Jesus spent forty days with his disciples after the Resurrection before he ascended into heaven. And so the number forty tells us that this is a time of preparation, and part of that preparation is our Lord identifying and overcoming the reality of temptation,” said Bishop Mueggenborg.
In the desert, Jesus shows us to persevere in our own fights against sin. “We don’t want to look at is as a test that he passes and then he’s done with, but rather we understand that this is going to be an ongoing challenge. Jesus is showing us how to persevere and overcome these challenges but indeed, we’re going to continue to face these challenges every day of our lives. The desert in the Old Testament was a place of wildness, a place where evil kind of roamed freely. And yet the desert was also a place of intense preparation where people came to confront their own limitations, to acknowledge their dependence upon God, and in that to experience God’s providential care and love for them,” explained Bishop Mueggenborg.
Just as our Lord was tempted in the desert, we are faced with temptations—big and small—each and every day. How do we respond?
“One of the first ways that we face it is by the fundamental question of, who is the master of our lives? Is it God, or do we try to make ourselves like God? And that’s really what that first temptation is about. Is Jesus going to live a life that’s based on feeding his momentary appetites, or is he going to live a life that committed in fidelity to the Father and in relationship with the Father? So he is always living as a faithful son of a loving father,” said the bishop.
For more insight into Sunday’s Gospel from Bishop Mueggenborg, listen to the full segment here: