I need to give a talk at our Confirmation retreat today – I preached already at the 8:00 am today and have the 10:30 in a bit.
The melancholy of the Lenten season and the knowledge that this is my last Lent in South Boston has gripped me – in that wonderfully haunting and reflective way. These are the sorts of the things that shape a homily as one goes about through the day.
I’m wondering if this the temptations of Jesus this weekend in Matthew’s Gospel cuts to the heart of the existential questions: Who is God? Who am I?
It seems as if we spend a lot of time attempting to force the answer we wish to the second question: I am this, I am that, I am …
We forget that the most important question to be answered is actually the first one: Who is God?
The irony in all of this, of course, is that we can’t answer this particular questions ourselves; rather, it is God, in the Word who answers this question for us, over and over again. The real challenge, then, is to listen to God’s answer regarding his own identity.
What does this really have to do with the temptations? I think it points out to us just how quickly we can become distracted, taken off task, but attempting to answer the second question – Who am I? And, to make matters worse, we can do them in a counterfeit way, trying to define ourselves by our stuff, by our power, by our reputation.
Jesus, the One who answers both questions: “Who is God?” and “Who is the human?” be with us this day!