Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Feb 16, 2012 | Comments (0)

Lent I Mark 1:9-15. The Kingdom of God has come near

A Rational thinking Church operates out of the Spirit.

A Spiritual understanding Church operates in the Spirit.

The three stories of Jesus in the Wilderness can be interpreted either through Rational Thinking or Spiritual Understanding.

Why did Jesus tell this story among so many others He could have told? Remember, all of the Gospel Scripture is what others saw Jesus do or say. This is the only Scripture where Jesus tells us what He did. After all, He and Satan were the only ones there in the Wilderness.

The missing clue that connects these three temptations together is that Jesus, after being baptized, was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness.  Rational thinking sees three separate temptations of Jesus exclusive of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual understanding sees how we handle temptations differently when in the Spirit.

The first temptation is to change the stones into bread.

This is the choice: do you give them fish or do you teach them how to fish? Rational thinking, out of the Spirit, would be for the Church to feed them bread alone.  Spiritual understanding knows Jesus was talking about spirituality.  After all it is only He and Satan out there.  There are people who are spiritually hungry. The Spiritual Understanding Church would teach them how being led by the Word of the Spirit would change their lives.

The dilemma for the Rational Thinking Church is, "If we dare teach them how to be open to the Presence, why would they come back?" They won't need to come to church to get what they already have outside the Church.

Spiritual Understanding knows that once people can access their Spiritual Presence, they will want to come to a community where they can share their experiences and support one another.  "You shall not live by bread alone but by every Word from God" is the equivalent of, "don't give them fish but change their lives so they will learn how to fish."

For the second temptation, Rational Thinking wants to do acts to prove their faith. Jumping off the temple to impress people of their faith is an irrational act that feeds the ego.  And, it might very well get one killed.

With Spiritual Understanding, a person is comfortable, spiritually, in the Presence of God's Peace, Love and Joy.  Led by the Spirit, they have a Wisdom that knows they don't have to prove they are faithful. Their witness will be the difference, living in or out of the Presence, can make.

In the third temptation, Rational Thinking bases faith on the ability to acquire material success.  Spiritual Understanding knows worshipping Satan and his materialism is idolatry.  It is depending on something other than God to get what God has already given.  Being in the Presence gives us the Wisdom to know real success as a fruit that comes from a life lived in the Presence of the Spirit.

Spiritual Understanding is what Jesus wishes to share with us. It is for us to understand how to abide in Christ and then share this Wisdom with others.

During this Lent, wonder daily what difference it makes if, when you are being tempted, you are being led by the Spirit in the Presence or are being led by others when out of the Spirit.

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