Go to Google images and type in chocolate cake. This is one of the hundreds of images I scrolled through. It appealed to me for several reasons. The darker and richer a chocolate cake is the more I want to taste it. The sheer size of the sliced piece in this photo made my eyes pop and my mouth water. I also liked the choice of milk and coffee to wash it down. (Oh that's cream for the coffee you say? Not for me!) Having given up eating between meals for Lent I would have to make this my meal. How about breakfast? You make a cake with eggs, butter and flour. Don't you?
In all seriousness I chose this image because it looks really tempting to me. Temptation is the theme of this week's Gospel. Notice how the devil tempts Jesus in the end of His forty days in the desert.
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. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. Luke 4:1-13
Jesus is surely starving after fasting for forty days but doesn't give in to the first temptation to feed Himself. Nor does Jesus forget Whom He is to worship. Lastly, Jesus doesn't take the bait to act out in pride to prove Himself. In each instance Jesus relies on something or better said, Someone, outside Himself. Jesus knows that His true food comes from the Word of God which He quotes in response to each temptation. The devil really didn't have a fighting chance because Jesus truly is the Son of God. And of course Jesus has an intimate union with the Father and the Spirit.
As for us, it's not so easy. The things that tempt us can be every bit as appealing as my chocolate cake. If we rely on our relationship with God we can overcome even the most tantalizing temptations. When we forget where our true food and strength comes from we are easy prey for the devil.
This Lent look past the things that tempt you to the One True Word who has overcome the greatest of tempters and the most powerful temptations.