There are questions we answer with our lips, and those we answer with our lives. Lent is an important part of our journey. Each step we take has been walked at one time in the gospels. We know that this journey leads us to the cross; to a tomb and “ends” with Easter, (as our lives and journey begin again). In our readings for next Sunday, Luke 4:1-13 the first Sunday in Lent, we are told that “Jesus was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” What do these temptations or tests mean to us in our lives today?
I suppose as a traveler on a journey, we can either be a tourist or a pilgrim. The tourist travels through his journey in comfort, ensuring that his experiences are familiar and safe. He makes sure that he takes “his stuff” from back home with him. There are many vendors along the way who, for a price, would be willing to accommodate the tourist’s expectations and satisfy his needs. After his trip, the tourist returns home with photos, souvenirs, and pleasant memories.
On the other hand, a pilgrim is one who is on a journey to a holy place. His journey into the unknown is embarked upon in hope that something new will be revealed. A pilgrim leaves his “comfort zone” and the attachments of his routine back home in search of something outside the familiar.
Perhaps our lesson as to how Jesus’ temptations relate to our journey as a pilgrim is for us to leave our comfort zone and share the food we have, instead of waiting for stones to be turned into bread. If the pilgrim’s quest is to meet God, he may have to find Him in strange places, among strange people. As an act of faith, a pilgrimage requires that like Jesus, we place ourselves in the hands of God and surrender to his will by the power of the Holy Spirit.