I SUNDAY OF LENT
genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; romans 5:12-19; matthew 4:1-11
many years ago, richard byrd spent four and a half months alone at the south pole. despite his achievements, byrd had felt aimless and empty. so, he chose to live in absolute isolation, «remote from all but the simplest distractions… obedient to no necessities but those imposed by the wind and night and cold.»
byrd emerged from his experience a changed person. he discovered that one can live more deeply and profoundly if one keeps life simple without cluttering it with material things (cf. richard byrd, «alone»).
solitude changes us!
so it’s not surprising that JESUS spends time alone (in mark’s version, this is not by choice: «the spirit drove JESUS out into the desert»!). through his ordeal in the wilderness, JESUS matures; understands his need to rely upon GOD alone; becomes aware of his mission and its implications. he returns ready for his mission to proclaim the good news.
byrd concludes his book: «no one could have done what i did without the loyal and sympathetic support of many other men.»
so it was with JESUS! in mark’s account of the temptation, JESUS discovers that GOD is with him, that angels care for him, and that nature is with him.
am i ready to spend some time alone (during lent)? will i give up my dependence on material things and rely on GOD? how will i clear the clutter from my life?
may you and i discover GOD’s providential care and the empathetic support of people during our desert moments, and support others during theirs.