Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Holy Spirit rushed Jesus to the Desert for Spiritual Combat.

"The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him." (Mark 1: 12 - 13).

Sunday 21st February 2021, 1st Sunday of Lent.

Today's short Gospel from Mark (Mark 1: 12 - 15) is packed with spiritual food. Let us consider the key words in our key Scripture for today:
#1. The Holy Spirit: He drove Jesus into the Desert, that is, He compelled Jesus to head to the Desert after His Baptism.
#2. Desert: A place of spiritual combat inhabited by wild beasts.
#3. Satan: The principal antagonist who tempts Jesus and employs the wild beasts.
#4. 40 Days: Critical duration for the Desert experience, the Struggle. Reminds us of Israel's 40 years in the Desert, Moses and Elijah's 40 days fasting.
#5. Wild beasts: A symbol of unsavory characters that haunt the "deserts" of this world. The Prodigal Son was in the abode of wild beasts.

The Temptation of Jesus in the Desert is a key Scripture in Lent to remind us of the real spiritual warfare we are engaged in day after day.

In the early days of my conversion, I heard this Scripture read from the lectern in a Sunday Mass:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
"Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12: 5 - 7).

I left the Mass very happy because I came to understand what was going on in my life. God was not destroying me. He was training me as a son. I emerged from the School of the Desert a couple of years later equipped with this 7-Way Plan to live the Christian life:
#1. Prayer.
#2. Word of God.
#3. Eucharist.
#4. Penance.
#5. Examen.
#6. Ministry.
#7. Spiritual Reading.

Jesus showed me the Way: the 7-Way Plan.

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