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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Temptation of Jesus

Matthew Chapter 4
Narrator: Anya, a Jewish paesant woman of the time of Jesus.

Story N. 2 (see previous post for N.1)

Jesus has been living in Capernaum for some time and rumors about him are spreading. People say that he has been fasting in the desert for forty days and forty nights, fighting temptation. They say that he saw the Devil. Anya wonders if that is true. Isn’t Satan the Big Deceiver? Alas, he wouldn’t have revealed his identity to Jesus. Many times the Devil tricked her into thinking that he was righteousness itself and she was stupid enough to believe him. But Jesus would have been able to tell the difference.
Anya heard that he could have turned stones into loaves of bread, had he surrendered to Satan. But he refused. And yet, he must have been hungry after forty days in the desert. Jewish people are hungry most of the time. They are poor, yet they must pay taxes to the Romans. If Jesus had said yes to Satan he could have fed them all. He would have been king of the world, as the Devil offered him. Jesus is just, and he would have been a just king. The Jews would have lived in a peaceful, prosperous world, until Jesus had stayed alive. But after his death chaos would have taken over again. The people of Israel would have been condemned, for their king had sold his soul to Satan.
Jesus is a wise man, so he resisted temptation. And he loves his people. He’ll find a way to free them from the oppressor. All they have to do is to wait.


Rumors have recently spread in Italy about the lavish lifestyle of some politicians members of Communion and Liberation, the movement founded by the late Monsignor Giiussani. Father Carron, his successor, has taken responsibility for the sins of those members and the poet Davide Rondoni has written in defense of the movement for an Italian newspaper. His article moved me to tears, because it shows that the religious mentality of the Italian people has fundamentally changed. The lukewarm, watered-down Catholicism which had negatively affected my religious upbringing is fading away, leaving room for a new kind of religiosity based on the everyday loving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let me attempt the translation of a few paragraphs.
"The Christian doesn't know what Christianity is. He learns by following Someone, today. We are those whose  hearts tremble when they see the Nazarene God nailed on the cross. Those who look at people as an infinite abyss that only His Abyss can fill up. Those who have the Resurrection like a hard joy in their eyes, happiness in the shadows of the days, like a breath.
To be Christians is not a merit. It's a grace. A kind of fortune, of an encounter that has been going on for 2000 years, like in the beginning of the Nazarene's adventure. Christians know this, but those who talk about Christianity unfortunately do not.
By now traditional Christianity doesn't exist anymore, it was mostly bigotry. Instead of being perceived as an exceptional Presence that makes life a hundred times more intense, Jesus Christ was perceived as an old father-in-law. One against life.
Faith is not a moral or social program, nor a scheme for power. It is an assent that moves: You know I love you, Lord.
They attempt sociological and political analysis about us, but they are doomed to fail. A faith that is alive undermines the principle of non-contradiction, on which is founded every pretence of right analysis.
Since God became man, ……..He has chosen not to show Himself as an idea or a moral epiphany, but through real men and in spite of their life".


Manny said...

I didn't find this story as engaiging as the last. Anya doesn't get involved in the action. Without her becoming part of the drama, the story is just a retelling of the gospel passage.

Do you know much about Communion and Liberation? I only heard about it a few weeks ago when the pastor at my church said he was part of the movement. I think he said he's written for their magazine. I looked it up afterward but I didn't understand it. What are they about?

Antonella said...

You're right, this story was really short because I wanted to say something about CL. It's all about how we encounter Jesus in our everyday life and how we wirness to Him, If you have time, why don't you partecipate to just one meeting with your pastor's group? CL groups meet once a week, the members read a few pages of one of Giussani's books and then talk about how it relates to their life.If you live in New York you are in the largest CL community in the USA. Here is still unspoiled, whereas in Italy it's a big deal and the politicians who belong to it create always!

Manny said...

"How we encounter Jesus in our everyday lives."
That sounds very interesting. I will have to try to look it up. Thank you.