Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44)

When Jesus retreats to a deserted place, we generally conclude that he is going to pray. However, he may have other experiences than communing with his Father. As the devil tempts Jesus in a desert place in an earlier passage, in today’s gospel the people come to tempt him again.

Jesus has successfully met the people’s needs. His speaking with authority left them astonished. His casting out maddening demons and curing debilitating illnesses healed them mentally and physically. Why wouldn’t they want such a prophet to stay among them? The gospel does not mention how the people try to prevent Jesus from leaving them, but we might imagine their making offers difficult to refuse. They may tempt him with a life-tenure as rabbi of their synagogue. Or perhaps propose the hand of the beautiful daughter of the town’s richest merchant in marriage!

But Jesus knows that he is no local guru. He has come to tell the world about the Kingdom of God, indeed to inaugurate it with words, deeds, and ultimately with his life. He is not to be deterred by temptations of beauty or security. In this gospel passage Jesus offers us an example and an assurance. Like him we must know what we are about as Christians and not allow ourselves to be lured away from holiness. Equally important, Jesus assures us that he will not be distracted from his mission of saving us.