The desert and the wilderness may speak to us of barrenness and desolation; but it is also a place for purification and transformation. In its silence and the emptiness, it can be a place of revelation and intimacy with God. If we become too self-engrossed, the desert can also be the place of our greatest temptations.
My greatest and most frequent temptations are not about embezzling a fortune or stealing millions. I am too much of a wimp to do those. Rather, my temptations about the small and insignificant amounts I pick up here and there that do not belong to me. Amount which I would not mind losing myself.
I am never tempted to murder or violence against others. I am too much of a coward to commit such offenses against people. Rather, my temptations are about taking potshots at people that hurt them deeply or ridiculing them to make them feel less worthy or behave towards them condescendingly as though I was the pinnacle of virtue and righteousness.
I am never tempted to monstrous passionate crimes. I am too much of a mouse to do any such misdeeds. My constant struggle is precisely to wallow in mediocrity and miss out doing good things a little bit better and more often. I too easily succumb to the temptation of being a creature of routine and of my habits that I fail to raise the bar of goodness just a little bit higher and stay content with just what I have been accustomed to.
Christ asks me to take up my cross daily. I think it is just a crucifix I am carrying. He challenges me to give away what I have to those who need it. I always find a way and a reason to give less than what I can. He gently tells me to love; and I do, but often with conditions. He beckons me to follow Him; and I try, but often in my own sweet time and choosing.
Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
~ Psalm 25
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.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”