A WANDERING ARAMEAN
Today's first reading describes an ancient thanksgiving ceremony. A farmer brings a basket of the first fruits of the harvest and then states a sort of creed. It is a brief acknowledgement of God's saving acts in history. It begins with the notion that the patriarchs came from Aram, usually identified with eastern Syria. The ritual ends with prostration before God. This passage is probably meant to link with the Gospel by teaching that one should only bow before God.
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
After his baptism, Jesus makes a retreat in the desert of Judea. Since he was alone at the time we must assume that he later shared news of this experience with his apostles. The devil tempts the Lord to use his divine power to win quick acclaim. But Christ has not come to work magic tricks. He has come to teach that salvation is possible for all, with the grace of his Father. The parapet or pinnacle of the Temple was probably part of the great plaza surrounding the building. Its southeast corner had a sheer drop of many yards. If Jesus jumped from this spot and landed safely, he would win public adulation. Jesus rejects this type of fame, knowing how fleeting it would be.
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