Sunday, February 17, 2013

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil." It might seem a bit strange that the Spirit of God would lead Jesus out to be tempted. But, on the other hand, what a beautiful truth to be considered that God's Spirit would lead us to where we inevitably need to go anyway.

To be tempted by life is an integral part of life. We will never escape it. We will never avoid it. Nor should we try. Rather, facing our temptations with the guidance and care of God’s Spirit is the best way to deal with them. When comforted by food and company and wealth, we can avoid feeling or even recognizing the presence of temptation. Or we can misidentify it, blinded by comforts.

But Jesus faced them after forty days of fasting. When he was hungry – very much alone and without the comforts of life – it was then that he experienced his temptations. It was then that he faced himself. But he was not alone. He was not unprotected. He was not without guidance or care. It was the Spirit who led him there that continued to guide and protect and inspire from within so that facing temptation was in itself a God-centered experience and one of triumph.

We pray that the same Spirit takes us into our Lenten desert to face ourselves, our temptations, our blindness. May we also find protection, guidance and the care of God.

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

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