And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Imagine a Far Side cartoon of Jesus sitting in a car with a dove at the wheel driving him out into a deserted place. Bizarre at that image might be, Mark states emphatically that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus here, to this place of learning. Jesus has just heard the Father proclaiming him as the “Beloved Son.” But even the beloved needs to grow in wisdom, age, and grace (Luke 2:52) and to learn obedience from what he suffers (Hebrews 5:8).
To know ourselves as the beloved of God does not shelter Jesus or us from temptations, hardships or wild beasts. But standing strong in this identity unleashes the grace to reject Satan’s lies. Jesus emerges from this lesson strengthened, not weakened. He calls us to repent, to literally turn away from fake news and believe in the Good News of the Gospel! So where is the Holy Spirit driving you?
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. His daily Lenten video reflections can be seen at heartoheart.org
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.
—Jesus, giving the Our Father