When I was growing up, they had great tunes for commercials. One of my favorites is the old Burger King commercial: “Have it your way!” It was kind of neat: at McDonald’s you didn’t get to choose what you got on your Big Mac, so having what you wanted on your Whopper was a big deal. It’s become something almost universal today: if you can’t get things the way you want them, there’s a problem. Of course, you can ask if what you want is good for you, or if you really need it, or in your best interest, but how often do we ask that?
I think the main temptation of Jesus in the desert was to have things His way. Not like we would see Jesus’ Way as the best way: Satan tempted Jesus to use his power only to please himself, take care of his self desires without worrying what it would mean to other people. The temptation is to put himself in God the Father’s place, which is the best definition of original Sin I can think of. If you think it through, that’s what we do when we sin: we try to have things our way instead of God’s way. Jesus was able to resist temptation because He didn’t have to make things happen His way. When He was able to let that go, there was help for what he needed, angels to take care of Him.
I’m not saying we need to avoid Burger King, and we really don’t have to worry about getting our Whopper our way unless it’s a Friday in Lent when we shouldn’t be having one. Selfishness is at the root of sin, and the only thing the devil can do to us is try to get us to follow our selfishness without limits. It’s when we can let go of having everything our way, making our wants equal with our needs and making them our first priority, we can enjoy the same kind of freedom Jesus had in the desert. Turning ourselves inside out, focusing on others first, can give us a lot of people to help us resist temptation. When we can let go of ourselves makes resisting sin easy, and giving in rather ridiculous, just like thinking the Burger King as Satan would be.
God’s way is best for us, this goes all the way back to Noah, and the ancient people of Israel believed that God gave us guidance to show us the best way to live. Christ reinforced that idea and gave us the Eucharist to keep us strong as we go through the desert of our temptations.
We come together today to share the food the angels. We come as a pilgrim people to be strengthened by this food and drink. We come together to share this meal so that we can go into the world to live the Gospel. We come here to recognize that we are not alone, and that we can strengthen one another.