What is the wilderness for us? In scripture it is a place of threat and a place where God's presence is manifest and a place where the hungry are fed and the thirsty are given water.
This gospel lesson for the first Sunday in Lent overlaps a little the lectionary reading for the Baptism of the Lord (January 11, this year) which was Mark 1:4-ll. To read that reflection, refer to A Voice from Heaven.
As earlier we focused on the baptism, this week we are reflecting on the tempting. In their Preaching the Gospel without Blaming the Jews, Ronald J. Allen & Clark M. Williamson, reminds us that even those of us who do not accept Satan as a personal being are faced with temptations. They suggest that we think about the forces in the world such as racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, and addictions, that resist God's aim for us to experience love and justice.
During our forty days of Lent, we will be challenged by those demonic forces. And, in our wilderness, we also will be tended by angels. As Allen & Williamson put it,
On the one hand, this narrative assures the reader that, just as God sustained Jesus, so God continues to sustain the community when its witness brings it eyeball to eyeball with evil.
Lectio Divina: Psalm 25:4-5