Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Man shall not live on bread alone

Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.(Matthew 4:4)

Our Lord's answer to this temptation is very similar to what he was to later teach in his public ministry. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well (Matthew 6:33). We must not worry about our temporal needs, for providence will see to them. Indeed we read that at the end of the temptations, angels came and ministered to him (Matthew 4:11).

But also when he said that we shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God, we should understand that he is that word who proceeds from the Father. He is not something that is purely spiritual or some great concept, but he has been made flesh in a man: body, blood, soul and divinity. Not only that, he the word incarnate has given us himself to eat under the appearance of bread. Not like the manna that the Israelites ate in the desert, but the bread that comes from heaven, the bread that is the life of the world. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life (John 6:54).

The tempter knew this all too well, and clearly foresaw the wonderful sacrifice of the mass, where ordinary bread and wine is transubstantiated into his body and blood. For just as grace restores nature, this is a miracle where his power completes natural creation, and does not abolish it. Turn stones into bread said the tempter, and all this would have be in vain: creation is not completed, but abolished.

Seeing the tempter could not break Our Lord's trust and hope in providence, the tempter sought to make him presume on it: If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down..

No comments: