Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

May 29, 2013
Wednesday in the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
By Colleen O’Sullivan
Come to our aid, O God of the universe, look upon us, show us the light of your mercies, and put all the nations in dread of you! Thus they will know, as we know, that there is no God but you, O Lord. (Sirach 36:1, 4)
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mark 10:35-37)


From the evil foe protect me. -- from Anima Christi (Soul of Christ) prayer
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. -- from the Our Father


Life is full of temptations, including temptations to:
  • aspire to being admired as a pillar of the church in your parish;  
  • hope to hear how great your homily was as the congregation leaves after Mass; or even
  • desire the choicest seats in heaven on either side of Jesus.
Of course, in today’s Gospel reading Jesus reminds James and John and all of us that the way of the follower of Christ isn’t the glory-seeking path; it’s the way of serving others rather than seeking to be served; it’s the way of being willing to suffer and lay down one’s life for others.
In the second chapter of Sirach (Sir 2:17-24), one of the books characterized as wisdom literature and the source of our first reading, the author, writing around the year 180 BC, talks about humility as a virtue connected with wisdom. But whether it’s the words of this sage or the words of Jesus we’re reading, neither one is in sync with the siren song of the world. Humility, seeking wisdom, and serving others are hardly fodder for 21st century marketing sound bites, which go more along the line that “it’s all about you” or that you should “have it your way.” From the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden to this very moment, the Evil One rejoices any time one of us can be convinced we are the center of the universe, because then the wedge has been driven in. The Evil Spirit has succeeded in coming between us and God.
The first reading today is part of a prayer of petition that God will save his people from their enemies. The writer has in mind the political situation of his day. But it’s not a bad thing to pray any day of the year, because the world is full of people, attitudes and ideas that can lead us away from the Lord. And anyone or anything that can do that is an enemy.


Who are the people or what are the things that tempt you to detour from the path Jesus has asked us to travel? Following in Christ’s footsteps is often difficult, but God is always there ready to help us when we are weak. However the Evil Spirit tempts you, pray to God to keep you from those temptations and to save you from all evil.

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