Scripture: Lectionary # 22. March 13, 2011. Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7. Psalm
51:3-4.5-6.12-13.17 Romans 5:12-19. Matthew 4:1-11
We live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of
God. We believe that Jesus is the Word of God and that the Holy Spirit
communicates to us through the Scriptures which we believe is the word of
God for us. But there are so many books and words within the Bible that we
often find it difficult to understand where the word of God is for us. How
do we know what God is saying to us through the Scriptures and through the
whole double library of the Bible–the New Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures
(Old Testament)? How can we assimilate the over abundance of words and
themes that are presented before us in the Bible?
Jesus is singularly the Word of God. Our focus is on him when we hear the
word of God or read it. The liturgical celebration of the Eucharist is an
ideal place to get in touch with Jesus the Word. Here we are given a few
selections from the great libraries of the Bible and we are even helped by
the way in which skilled readers who are sensitive to the need to be heard
clearly present that word of God to us. Jesus is present wherever two or
three are gathered in his Name and his Name is the Word of God. We need to
listen with our hearts as the psalms tell us. By turning to Jesus as a
Person in whom we believe and trust the words of the Lord become more real
to us. We are listening then to the living word of Jesus and Jesus speaks
to us through it.
Today Jesus shows us how to overcome the Devil by knowing the Scriptures.
He refutes the threefold attempt of the wily old serpent with the words of
God coming from the Hebrew Scriptures which were his Bible. The first
temptation is offset by Jesus citing Exodus 4:15; the second is a citation
from Deuteronomy 6:16; the third, Deuteronomy again seen in Deuteronomy
6:13 and 10:20. The Devil was citing Scripture too, but not as the living
word of God and not realizing that Jesus was one with God as the Word made
flesh among us. Satan is vanquished and he leaves Jesus. Luke also has
three temptations and Jesus resists with God’s word so that Satan does not
bother him again till his sufferings and death on the Cross.
Paul also gives us the living words of God telling us today that …”the
grace of God and the gracious gift of one man, Jesus Christ abound for
all… through one man’s obedience all shall become just.”
And we pray with our own voices in the words of the great Psalm 51: “A
clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.” Amen.