COR THOUGHTS 243: How Could Jesus Be Tempted?


In this Sunday’s Gospel, we read that the “Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for 40 days, tempted by Satan” (Mk 1:12). Since there was nothing inclining Jesus’ heart toward pride, greed, lust, envy, or any other vice, we must probe the nature of his temptation. “There is only one temptation,” wrote Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete. “All particular temptations are expressions of this one original or ‘primordial’ temptation. It is the temptation to believe that the fulfillment of the desires of the human heart depends entirely on us.” In the language of St. John Paul II, it’s the temptation to deny God’s Fatherhood, to deny that God will provide the fulfillment for which we long as a gift. The New Adam redeems the first Adam by living through the original temptation without denying God’s gift. The “desert experience” is the experience of raw, naked, vulnerable humanity. It’s the experience of every human hunger, desire, and longing at its peak. And it’s in that moment that we are most vulnerable to the primordial temptation: God is not coming through for you…. If you want satisfaction, you have to take matters into your own hands. “No! God is my loving Father! Get behind me, Satan!”