Jesus began his public ministry with his baptism in the Jordon, when he was anointed by the Holy Spirit for his mission of redemption. He is the son who is also the suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah centuries before that. Matthew, Mark and Luke speak about the Spirit leading him into the desert to be tempted by the devil after that. John speaks of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus on the cross passes over from death to life and takes us all along with him by redeeming us with his precious blood and making us God's precious children. Yet, each one of us has to accept and live our own Baptism, as God's child, everyday. We have to be willing to embrace the cross as followers of Jesus. Every disciple will have to face the cross in one' s life, but his grace is always sufficient for us.
Each one of us has to face temptations from the devil in our lives.1) We are tempted to use the gifts and opportunities God gives us for our own well-being or to satisfy ourselves. Jesus was hungry but he never ordered the stones to be turned into bread. On the other hand, he multiplied the loaves and fish to feed the hungry people. 2) We are tempted to do something sensational to attract attention to ourselves and appear superior to others, as people with supernatural powers. Faith invites us to walk humbly with our God and to put our trust in Him and him alone, rather than test God. 3) Money and the security that money brings us, are a constant temptation. We do not want to rely on God's providence but rather depend on his gifts as if they were our own. We forget that we are stewards of these gifts to help others in distress. God gives and God can also take away.
In these temptations, the Spirit of God is with us to help us choose as Jesus chose. We choose, not what will benefit us, but how to reach out in love to others today, especially the least of Jesus' brothers and sisters.
I can pay lip service to the Holy Spirit and call on Him to give me his gifts, to make an impression on others or to appear holier than others. However, like John the Baptist I must decrease and Jesus must increase. I am
May the Lord enlighten our minds and lighten up our hearts that are so often weighed down by the cares and enticements of a life that is focused on ourselves. In losing ourselves we will find our true selves. That is the paradox of the cross from which new life of resurrection springs.