Tuesday, February 28
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
I remember a night when I was quite young. My parents were gone away, and my elder siblings were to make dinner for my younger brother and me. It was summer, and I was out in the neighborhood and did not hear the call to come for dinner. When the sun began to set, I went home to find dinner cleaned up and nothing left. My parents still laugh at the emphatic note I left, informing them that “THEY DID NOT SAVE ME ANY DINNER!” and I had to go to bed hungry.
My reaction in the moment was rather dramatic (admittedly, my reactions can often be dramatic!) I was certain I was going to die of starvation, and blame would be placed on my siblings. But let’s be honest, I was not abused and left hungry. I was not living in poverty and that was my very last chance for a meal. I would get breakfast and all the meals after that.
And here we encounter Jesus; sitting in the desert, waiting for forty days, anticipating what is to come, fasting, praying. “And he was hungry.” What an understatement in human terms.
Here we encounter the divinely incarnate God. Jesus is 100% human in his hunger and 100% divine, full of the Spirit of God. Jesus is full, filled to overflowing with those aspects of the divine that allow the human aspects to be simply “hungry” and rest in the Father’s plan.
How many times have I sat in a literal desert with no sustenance? Never. How many times have I sat in the figurative desert thirsting and hungering, hoping for God to provide the nourishment I desperately need? Often. But here in Matthew, I realize that God has always been there with me. I need not fear being left wanting. The Spirit is constantly filling me up with all I need to continue to do God’s work in the world.
Thank you, loving God, for constantly filling us with your Spirit that we might fight temptation, wait patiently for your plan, and work toward the salvation of the world. Amen.