Jesus went into the wilderness and struggled with the demons. Such is the metaphor of spiritual life presented to us in today’s Gospel. In the course of our lives, we are all “led into the desert by the Spirit,” and we must struggle with the demons.
We struggle with the demon of self-sufficiency. Ignoring our interdependence, we imagine that we can ‘go it alone,’ and end up dividing ourselves into isolated units of races, classes, and genders, living as though we do not need the other. We may even reach the point of living as though we do not need the Other.
We struggle with the demon of power. We begin by setting ourselves above others, and often end with oppressing them, using our power in a cruel or unjust manner to keep others down.
We struggle with the demon of pride, imagining ourselves to be better than others, or the ‘top dog’ in our little world, or number one in the world.
Lent is a time to struggle with the demons, “to rid ourselves of the hidden corruption of evil.”
As the kernel and center of his good news, Christ proclaims salvation, this great gift of God which is liberation from everything that oppresses man but which is above all liberation from sin and the evil one, in the joy of knowing God and being known by him, of seeing him, and of being given over to him.
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975: 9.