Have you ever felt “pushed” to do something? Maybe you’ve felt a sense of urgency or need to do or to be. Sometimes we feel that something is driving us to act or speak and we can’t really explain it. Well, this happened to Jesus when “the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert”. The “something” that drives us or pushes us on occasion could very well be the Spirit of God. We don’t always know for sure and we’re not always able to explain. But the fact is that the Spirit is everywhere, all around and always active, speaking to us through people, events and what happens in daily life. When this happens we try to figure out or discern what is going on. It is not always the easiest thing to do but, if we listen with the ears of our heart, we very often get answers.
So, Jesus goes to the desert and is there for 40 days while he struggles with temptation. While it isn’t said explicitly in the gospel, it’s possible that Jesus may have been struggling to know what his mission would be all about. Maybe he wasn’t completely sure how to begin, where to begin, what exactly he was to do. These are temptations or doubts or wonderings that any one of us could experience time and time again in our lives. It’s difficult to be absolutely sure of things all the time and not to doubt oneself or one’s purpose in life.
We don’t know what the wild beasts were that were with Jesus, but I would wager we know quite well what the “wild beasts” are in our lives! The interior wild beasts we struggle with are the worst kind. Our weaknesses, our addictions, our sinful tendencies, are the wild beasts that angels will drive away if ask and seek and trust.
At the end of the Gospel it feels almost as if a trumpet had sounded and the proclamation of Jesus spreads far and wide. He knows his mission. He knows what to do. He has put the desert and the wild beasts behind him and calls us to change our hearts, to repent and not let the wild beasts within take over. His advice as to how to do this is clear and a real invitation to each of us: “Believe in the gospel!”
-Sr. Patricia Brady
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221