The opening verse intends to remind of the Exodus and the events in the desert. The prophets typically saw the desert as a place of encountering God, a place of purification and simplification from the chaos of other spaces, and a place of covenant.

The three temptations just abut follow the pattern of the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, or their opposites of money, power, fame.

In the last verse, “he departed from him for a time” suggests that there will always be temptations for the disciple; the evil one is relentless. But the desert trains the disciple of Jesus to resist temptations. Jesus’ own immersion in scripture enable to say “No!”

The Deuteronomy readings reflects a very early stage in the development of ritual, well before animal sacrifices and before the temple. It takes place entirely in the natural world and is vegetarian. The text tells the ancient story of Abraham; the Exodus portion does not mention Moses. The ritual ends in a celebration. Vs 11 just after our reading, reminds the people to INCLUDE the aliens among them.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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