ONE DOES NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE (MT 4: 4) The Lord Jesus mentioned these powerful words to counter the devil’s attempt to lure him to turn stones into bread. This came at the end of forty days and forty nights of fasting and prayer in the desert, when the gospel says, the Lord was famished – very hungry, already weak due to hunger. One of the ways the devil tempts us is to offer attractive options to satisfy our needs. As humans, we have physical needs we must fill up in order to survive each day. Basic among these is the need for food and water, which is vital to our existence. But even this biological need is not what Jesus thinks a priority in his life. For a person who has fasted continuously, the requirement is not to feast immediately. Breaking a fast requires only minimal and modest consumption of food and drink. Today we are surrounded by hundreds of options for food, much of which cater to our wants rather than our needs. An extreme illustration is the proliferation of home videos featuring what is called “mukbang,” a form of binge eating, gorging huge amounts of tasty food, not to assuage hunger but to satisfy the desire to please one’s taste, one’s eyes, one’s greed, one’s status as an able buyer. The bread the gospel refers to does not only signify literal food. It also refers to all material things that trigger our desire for attachment, possession, and accumulation. What begins as a simple hobby collecting a particular item ends up becoming a wanton hoarding. What starts as a casual attraction leads to a destructive pattern of dependence or addiction. Human beings, made in the likeness of God, and destined to be masters of the world, become slaves instead to the tangible, the material, the physical things around them. Do these things, in the end, make people happy? These make them feel good, rich, secure, and powerful but it also creates an emotional and irrational emptiness and neediness and produces fear of loss, detachment, or generosity. This Lenten season, it may be good to remember constantly the words of the Lord Jesus that rebuffed the devil’s temptation to created and imagined needs, to material wants and attachment. ONE DOES NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE. What material things or relationships dominate your life today? What cravings drive you to accumulate and possess more than what is necessary? What need in your life seems to be growing to the point that it creates in you a sense of helpless and fear just thinking of letting it go? People, possessions, dreams or desires… the bread that surrounds us… they will never be able to give us the peace and joy and freedom that  comes from “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Let us surrender to the Lord the bread in our life that prevents us from being fed with his Word. ourparishpriest 2023 Share on FacebookTweet Total Views: 99