Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Temptation of Jesus: Part 2 of 4

As we continue our study on, The Temptation of Jesus (Edward Sri's study on the Gospel of Matthew, Mystery of the Kingdom), we are now going to take a closer look at His first temptation in the desert.

Israel's first test. The first of Israel's trials involved hunger. In the Book of Exodus we can all recall when Moses parted the Red Sea and led all the Israelites away from bondage and into the desert. The Israelites celebrated their new found freedom as they were no longer slaves of Pharaoh. However, they soon faced their first problem: Where would they find food in the desert? How were they going to eat? Their rejoicing quickly turned into panic. We might of expected Israel to trust in God to provide, instead we see the people turned against Moses, saying "You have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger" (Ex 16:3). Israel's failure: Not trusting the Father.

Sri now looks at Jesus' first test. Similarly, we all know that Jesus also faced hunger in His first temptation with the devil. The devil wanted Jesus to use His power as the Son of God to break His forty days of fasting. You see, the Father sent the Spirit to lead Jesus into the desert to pray and fast for forty days, for Jesus to turn the stones into bread would be to exercise His messianic authority for His own self interest and thus depart from the Father's will. Now, remember Israel's failure of not trusting the Father, well Jesus does not waver from trusting the Father. In fact, He quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 (a passage that brings to mind the story of Israel's first test), saying "Man shall not live by bread alone" (Mt. 4:4). Jesus overcomes the first major fall of Israel in the desert.

[1] Exodus 16:3
[2] Deuteronomy 8:3
[3] Matthew 4:4
[4] Mystery of the Kingdom. Edward Sri

Monday, November 19, 2007

Coming to America: Pope Benedict, 2008

As many of you already know, Pope Benedict is coming to the U.S. in Spring '08.' (The Week of Our Wedding!) FN contributor Father Jonathan Morris discusses some of the places that the pope will visit during his stay.
Click on the link below to view the clip. .

Coming to America: Pope Benedict, April of 2008

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Temptation of Jesus (Part 1 of 4)

In the following post I will share a multi-part study on Jesus overcoming the three temptations of the devil (Mt 4:1-11). , taken from Edward Sri's study on the Gospel of Matthew entitled, Mystery of the Kingdom. By taking a closer look at how the three temptations of Jesus relate to the first three major trials of Israel in the Exodus, we’ll be able to identify that the failings of Israel are symbolically overcome by Jesus’ victory over the devil. Finally, we’ll recognize how Jesus’ victory over the devil sets the tone for the rest of His public ministry, and how the Church’s annual celebration of Lent helps us experience the victory of Jesus in our own lives today.

The Real Enemy
Jesus’ battle in the desert was not a fight that many of the people around Him expected. Instead of confronting the Romans, who were the evil oppressors of the Jews in Jesus’ day, Jesus marched into the desert to combat a much fiercer opponent; the devil. Jesus shows all of us that the real enemy was much bigger than the Roman Empire or any other pagan nation. The true enemy was the power of sin and Satan. To focus on driving out the Romans would be to miss the point. Thus, Jesus did not come to fight the Romans, but to treat the root of the problem; the sin of Israel and the sin of all humanity. If sin were conquered, Israel and all of us truly would be free.

‘In the Destert’
The fact that Jesus spent forty days in the desert shows how He symbolically relived the story of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness during the Exodus. We shall see in the following posts that Jesus faced the same trials Israel faced in the desert, but instead of failing like the ancient people of God did, He proved Himself to be a faithful Israelite. Jesus remained faithful precisely where Israel had been unfaithful.

Part 2 of this study to follow. .

[1] Mt 4:1-11. New American Bible
[2] Mystery of the Kingdom. Edward Sri. Publsiher, Immaus Road