Reading: Matthew 6,13
And lead us not into temptation
Reflection: These days, the media is abuzz with the current pandemic of the “Corona” virus.* It seems to me that I have not read more speculation in the media in my forty years of literacy. The World Health Organization cannot keep up with all the false information that spreads rapidly on the internet. Everyone knows what to do. Everyone knows what is best, what is right. And yet, people write a bunch of nonsense.
But the truth is, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and unlike the previous use of this phrase, this time we can take it completely literally. The situation is changing every hour. It is a difficult and uncertain time, and it is a big question how much power we have to stop many things that will happen. I think about how Jesus told his disciples before those days when he would be arrested, handed over to the authorities, condemned and crucified, to pray not to fall into temptation (Mt 26:41 or Lk 22:46). They had no idea what awaited them, and they could even less anticipate their reactions to the storm that would whirl over them. Yesterday, Peter promised never to leave Jesus, only to deny him with insulting words the next day.
Knowing that I am no better than Peter or any other person, I begin to sense Jesus’ encouragement to pray not to fall into temptation as an encouragement to pray for tomorrow, which is uncertain in what it brings to me, as well as in how my faith will withstand the upcoming trials. This is a prayer for God’s guidance and wisdom from above in the things that will happen to us. In the second part of verse 41 in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He knew how real the temptations were and how likely we were to fall victim to them.
Today, tomorrow seems very uncertain, but I also hear Jesus’ voice saying “pray that you do not fall into temptation,” and I also hear him saying “I pray that your faith does not fail” (Lk 22:32).
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the army of angels in heaven who “cheer” us on, that we may run this race, that our faith does not fail, that we do not fall into temptation, that we may wisely live through these difficult days. Thank you that we know once again that we are not left alone, we are not orphans. Knowing that we have your support, we pray today for wisdom from above for all those things, decisions, and actions for which the world cannot be wise today and has no answer. We pray that you direct our steps to live through this time.
*Original article from March 17, 2020.