So what's your real hunger?

In this Sunday’s gospel for the First Sunday of Lent, we hear from chapter four of Matthew’s gospel the famous telling of Jesus being tempted in the desert. In the beginning of the gospel reading we have what is almost an amusing line. It says Jesus “fasted for forty days and forty nights”, and then in almost this great understatement says, “and afterwards he was hungry”. Well, of course, any of us would be extremely hungry after fasting for forty days and forty nights!

And yet that line almost has to be there, I think, for two reasons: first to remind us that when we are at our weakest, then we are the most vulnerable to temptation. The second reason is what I would like to offer as my reflection this week and that is that it is only when we detach ourselves of what fills us can we recognize the real hunger in our lives.

For by our very nature, we all have a hunger for God. That is always with us. It is part of who we are because of our relationship with the God who created us and calls us his beloved. However, we fall into the trap of not being able to recognize that we have that hungry. Why? Because of all the things we fill ourselves with.

We all know that in our culture there are so many things to fill us. Right at my fingertips, in my electronic device, I am bombarded with content to fill my every thought. Our schedules today are jammed from early morning until very late at night. We are filled with more and more and yet none of it satisfies that very hunger for God. The only thing it all does is fool us and distract us from the real hunger in our lives. And so the Church gives us Lent, these forty days in the desert when we first get in touch with that real hunger and then we can get in touch with the one who satisfies that hunger, the Bread of Life.

Let’s pray for each other that these forty days will help us recognize that we have this unique hunger for God and that this time will be a special time to help us grow in deeper relationship with the one who loves us, feeds us and saves us.

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