The people of Israel were surrounded by wilderness and desert, places where there was little water and where no food could grow. The wilderness also carries a symbolic meaning: it’s a place where we confront the most basic questions about life.
Today we speak of people going through a “wilderness experience,” a time of deep soul-searching. So it was with Jesus. In our reading, Jesus is being asked, “What kind of a Messiah will you be?” This is a spiritual question. How will he respond to the lures of power, wealth and fame?
We know Jesus responds with a simple and firm “No!” He grounds himself deeply in the Torah, in his biblical and spiritual truths, his solid foundation from which he makes his choices. His “no” to the temptations set him free to live in his “truth” in the years to come.
During the 40 days of Lent, we are invited into our own “wilderness experience” to discern our “truths.” What sort of a person do I wish to be? What informs my decisions? What is the truth at the core of my life, the truth that will always set me free?
God of love, grant me the grace to discern your eternal truths within my own life. Set me free to be all that you have created me to be. Amen. — MW