“One Does Not Live on Bread Alone” (Lk 4:4)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The First Sunday of Lent traditionally comes to us as a strong reminder of the real danger of power and wealth, and, at the same, an urgent call for fighting the evil temptation in order for us not to become victims of sinful greed and pride.
The Gospel story tells us how our Lord Jesus Christ fought and won the battle for faithfulness to God. He always clung to the Word of God as the most powerful and efficient weapon to defeat the devil’s offensive. Most impressive of the quotations from the Holy Bible which Christ made to annihilate the demon’s plan was verse 8, Chapter 3 from the Book of Deuteronomy that reads “One does not live on bread alone.”
Scripture taught that man was created by the Lord God after the divine image. By “God’s image” the Holy Bible means that we are given intelligence, the mind power that helps us to know ourselves, to recognize our neighbor, to realize what happens around us, to understand the existence and the meaning of the world and even of the universe, and finally, to know God, our creator. God Who is love also gave us the will power with which we can love God and neighbor. We as human persons have conscience thanks to which we are able to distinguish the good from the evil. We are the unique creatures that enjoy the blessing of freedom in order to act as human persons in accordance with God’s Commandments.
We need food and drink to sustain our life and that of our family members. For this we have to look for a job, to work harder and harder. But “One does not live on bread alone” so we also need education, information, communication and corporation among our fellow men and women for the building of a better society and a true human family where all peoples from all over the world can live together as sisters and brothers. Our efforts in different fields such as culture, economy, politics and religion should be motivated by a profound sense of love for the human person, a sincere and fervent sense of respect for the dignity and the rights of the human person. Among the rights that are universal the most important is the right to freedom of worshipping God. Without the love and respect for the human person all forms of progress, all form of civilization, all forms of high-tech and high standard living conditions become meaningless and useless.
“One does not live on bread alone” is also a strong statement on the inviolable, priceless and divine dignity of the human person whose integrity we Christians are urged to do our best to preserve in a society torn by violence and all forms of abuse and violation of human dignity and rights.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.