After his baptism, "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry"(Matthew 4:1-2).
Forty days and 40 nights: the same time Moses spent on Mount Sinai and Noah spent on the ark. We’re also reminded of the 40 years during which the Hebrew people were tempted on their journey through the desert.
Each of these times served to offer God’s people greater opportunities for a deeper and more spiritual life. In a similar way, the 40 days and nights of Lent can give families a chance to form a closer relationship with God and to foster a desire to reconcile ourselves with our family members and with God.
After 40 days in the desert without food, the devil tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus refuses to use his power for his own benefit. How is our family tempted to use our power to help only ourselves, in place of others who might need our assistance?
When the devil tempts Jesus to throw himself off the top of the temple, Jesus refuses to demand proof of God’s power. How is our family tempted to seek some supernatural evidence of God’s love or existence, in our feeble attempt to put God to the test?
When the devil tempts Jesus to bow down and worship him, Jesus refuses to worship anyone other than God. How is our family tempted to worship the god of self, the god of indulgence or the god of security?
The story of Jesus in the desert reassures families that we too can overcome the devil’s temptation: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way" (Hebrews 4:15).