Each and every day we seek food that truly satisfies. How often do we want something to satisfy a craving for that special treat, that special dish. We say I’ve got a taste for something, last week I had a taste for liver and onions like my mother used to make.
Well I’m not going to make you salivate for my dear mothers cooking but rather I’d like to call our attention to the desire, the need, and craving for Spiritual food that not only satisfies, not only fills our souls and renews our spirit, but turning to a food that liberates us and sets us free. Recall a moment when a preacher spoke the right word, and you knew not only was it meant for you, but it was God speaking to your very core, cutting to the center of your being and addressing your exact need. This is what liberating spiritual food can do for us.
Let us look at Moses in Deuteronomy 26:4 we see him instructing the people to place before the Lord as basket, first fruits. “When you have come into the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage, and have taken possession and settled in it,
you shall take some first fruits of the various products of the soil which you harvest from the land the LORD, your God, is giving you; put them in a basket and go to the place which the LORD, your God, will choose as the dwelling place for his name.’ Deut 26:1&2
The Lord having fulfilled his promise to the people of Israel, having brought them from a place of slavery and bondage to freedom, and prosperity, a land flowing with Milk and Honey, we find them returning to the Lord “First Fruits”. Moses reminds the people of God’s liberating action in their lives and bringing them to this very moment of great Thanksgiving, in Greek Eucharist.
This is key to our Lenten Journey and our discovering food that truly satisfies. We too can and must come before the Lord throughout this season and our very lives, to first and foremost give God thanks for all he has provided for in our lives. Knowing that although the path is not easy and burden is not light, the Lord is providing us liberating power that comes from His Word and action in our lives that serves as our food for the journey. The Journey to the Promise Land over 40 years, was not easy. It too had its hardships, temptations and trials, but God remained faithful to His promise for His people.
As you speak God’s Word over your life this Lent let us start here at the throne of grace recognizing God’s mighty hand, and sustaining nourishment that has brought us through. God’s Word in our mouths and hearts is then spoken forth with the power to transform not only our lives but lead us to salvation that He alone can give. This is truly satisfying nourishment. “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:10
Something strikes me unlike I’ve noticed in 26 years having preached this at least 9 times, Jesus enters the desert “Full” Not so much with bread, but he is “Filled with the Spirit” as he begins His journey for 40 days. I often focus on Jesus being led, or guided by the Spirit, but His being “Full” is a powerful image of the Divine Unity. Much like the Israelites who journey for 40 years and who also were tempted in the desert. Jesus being “Full” of the Spirit is seen in the Gospel and the clear unity and oneness of God proclaimed in the Baptism. In chapter 3 of Luke verses 21 and 22 we hear this “After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,* heaven was opened and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Here we see the oneness and great unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The power of the Spirit is the love coming forth from the Father to the Son, and this spiritual banquet is the food that has filled Jesus and enabled Him to not only journey through the desert but enables Him to do spiritual battle against the one who lies, deceives and seeks to destroy. Jesus on each occasion has to remind the evil one, that He is God, “You shall not put the Lord your God the test” a creature made by God attempts to tempt God to deny His Divinity, hidden in His Humanity. The Creator can never worship or bow before the creature.
Jesus temptation is for us a source of encouragement and hope. That as we journey these 40 days as He did, we find our true source of nourishment that satisfies in the Word of God. The Divine Word is our food for the journey, it is our strength and our hope. And even if we fall and fail, we can still get back up and start again. If we miss the mark, don’t be afraid to get up and keep trying. Don’t be discouraged, the Divine Word is there to strengthen us, satisfy our craving for true spiritual food.