Bread vs. the Word

Today’s readings


In today’s Gospel, the devil tempts Jesus:

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan 
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, 
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days, 
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, 
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him, 
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”

During Lent, most Catholics sacrifice some beloved food or activity to make space inside to receive the spiritual nourishment of the Word of the Lord, referred to in today’s second reading, “the word of faith that we preach,” kept in the heart and spoken with the mouth.

In a sermon, Of the Sweetness of God in His Divine Calls: “Taste and See that the Lord is Good,” Psalm 33, Saint Junípero Serra said:

Let us recall that man consists of an inferior or sentient part, which he shares with the irrational creatures, and a superior or rational part, which he shares with the angels: To think with the angels.

Bread is what sustains the inferior part. But the sustenance of the superior part, that which is necessary to preserve man’s better life, consists of the divine voice with which the Lord speaks to the heart, which enables the heart to turn to Him. Just as bread does not give life to the inferior part unless it is chewed and digested, so even less will man be able to live the life of the soul without pondering the divine words which the Lord speaks to the heart: Remember this in your heart, you transgressors. Return to the heart, because there these voices of the Lord will assist and sustain us with a very gentle gift. For God himself said that those who savor His voice would never encounter death: Whoever keeps my word will never taste death. -- From the Appendix: Four Sermons in Junipero Serra: California, Indians and the Transformation of a Missionary by Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2015


Reflection Questions:

How are you trading bread for the Word of the Lord this Lent?

Are you actively listening to hear the Word for yourself?