By Fr Donald Chambers
Imagine you are a member of a group on a hiking trail. On the trail, you bump into huge rocks, running streams, fallen trees, and dangerous precipices. To navigate these dangerous obstacles, you need to be equipped with skills to navigate these obstacles.
On the synodal journey, there are obstacles or temptations of which to be aware. Today’s gospel reading of Luke’s version of the temptation of Jesus unveils two insights.
First, the obstacles that Jesus faces on His missionary journey. Second, Jesus’ reliance on the Holy Spirit for heightened awareness and the power to resist. Similarly, the synodal journey is a Spirit-driven journey. The same Spirit that inspires and empowers Jesus, equips the Church today to be aware and resists the obstacles.
The temptation narrative presents three broad categories of temptations. They are (1) unbridled reliance on self, (2) indispensable power, and (3) putting God to the test.
The Synod Handbook refers to these temptations as ‘pitfalls’ and lists nine of which can be grouped under the above-mentioned categories.
Category 1 – Unbridled reliance on the self
Category 2 – Indispensable exclusive power
Category 3 – Putting God to the test
Pitfalls or temptations, an inclination not to rely on God, is part and parcel of the Church’s synodal journey. Luke’s temptation narrative reminds the Church to rely on the Holy Spirit to navigate the Lenten Synodal journey.
I invite you to carefully reflect on your personal and communal experience of any of these pitfalls.