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The Gift of Temptation

The reading we hear this week from the gospel of Luke describes Jesus’ retreat in the wilderness. Following his baptism, Jesus retreats to an isolated place to ground his vocation as God’s beloved child and messenger of salvation. No doubt Jesus understands that with great power comes the possibility for great temptation. In solitude, the many inner voices of life often emerge. In this time of retreat, Jesus is visited by temptation. The temptations Jesus experiences involve good things that come between God and ourselves. There is nothing in principle wrong with comfort food, safety, and power for the good. Yet, all of these, when they become the sole focus of our lives, can lead us from our deepest vocation and relationship with God. We are seldom tempted by “bad” things. Rather good things that divert us from better things are the source of the greatest temptations.


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