Much like Oprah Winfrey, I love bread. One of the most delicious, filling, and versatile foods out there, bread is the cornerstone of an otherwise moderately healthy diet. My roommate and I have a standing joke about my having a bread-themed wedding, and I won’t deny that when HUDS forgets to set out the good bread for Sunday dinner, I become more than a little disappointed. In today’s passage of Matthew (4:1-17), Satan offers Jesus a series of temptations while he is fasting in the desert. “If you are the Son of God,” says Satan, “command that these stones become loaves of bread (Matthew 4:3).” I will admit, if I were Jesus, I would have taken the bait. A whole desert, full of stones, that could be transformed into my favorite food just on a whim- sounds like a carbo-loaded heaven. However, luckily for us, in addition to being fully human, Jesus was also fully divine, so he had the willpower to resist the temptation that Satan offered him.
Sometimes, when we are tempted with something that we find hard to resist, it can be easy to think that we are only human and that we do not have the power that Jesus does to resist temptation. We wouldn’t be wrong. Original sin is real, and it manifests itself in our predilection for things that are bad for us and in our weakness when it comes to resisting sin. Luckily, in the same breath in which Jesus rebukes Satan and resists temptation, he offers us hope and aid in resisting temptations. “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).” If we only our own strength, we would not be able to resist temptation. However, by living on the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, we are given the strength to resist temptation through his divine power and almighty love. As we keep our Lenten fasts, it may seem difficult during these first few weeks to resist temptations, but if we rely on the help and strength of Jesus, we will have the strength to maintain our Lenten fasts and resist sin throughout the year.
Like Oprah, earthly bread may fill us with temporary joy. But the joy that comes from Jesus, the Bread of Life, is more fulfilling than all the loaves of bread in the world.
Mary Katherine DeWane ’20 is a sophomore Integrative Biology concentrator in Dunster.