By Adanna Adaka, serving with the St. Joseph Worker Program in Orange, California
Being raised in a Catholic household, I grew up hearing these Bible verses over and over again – at Sunday school, in religion classes, at prayer times, and even around the dinner table. However, no matter how many times I’d heard them or how well I could recite them, I could never stop thinking about how physically weak Jesus must have been. Think about going for forty days and forty nights without any food or water! He must have been so exhausted. Yet, when Jesus is presented with three different scenarios to demonstrate to the devil and to the world how powerful He is, Jesus humbles Himself and makes a conscious decision instead to glorify God through His words and actions. And He invites us to do the same.
Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that temptation is part of our humanity. What matters is how we respond to these temptations. Jesus’ experience in the wilderness shows us that we can overcome them because we are children of God equipped with Scripture, with faith, and with the love of God. But that’s not all! The Bible goes on to tell us that after Jesus’ ordeal, “…behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.” This closing line serves to reassure us that there will always be a silver lining for whatever clouds we encounter. And that if we can fight on through our temptations, they’ll eventually come to an end and He will be right there to congratulate our triumph over the devil. How beautifully encouraging!
Focus on: Social Justice: In our world today, we have witnessed several cases where our leaders, political or otherwise, have faced the choice of using their newly acquired power to promote selfish interests or to work for the good of the community. How often do I find myself in similar positions? How do I respond? Do I contribute to the injustices I see around me instead of standing against them? We have been equipped with what we need to fight the good fight, so let us reevaluate our faith, offer up a prayer, or sing a song in tribute to those who have been victimized by such prejudices.
Service Inspiration: I met Gena Gadient on my second day in California. She had served as one of the pioneer St. Joseph Workers in Orange the year before, and returned to work as a Program Assistant for incoming volunteers. In other words, she was going to be our mentor extraordinaire. I have known GG for approximately six months now and in this short time, she has quickly become a role model in my life. GG is a woman whom I have come to genuinely admire. Her love for/of others, her constant joy in service, her selflessness, and her constant willingness to connect people and lend a helping hand encourages me each day to be the best woman I can be at my placement site and to all whom I encounter. I am truly thankful for Gena and to God for placing her in my life.
Forty Days with the Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service: This reflection is part of our annual Lenten Reflection Guide, a collection of reflections written by current and former volunteers. We are pleased to offer this resource through our partnership with the Catholic Apostolate Center.
To download the Lenten Reflection Guide, please click here.
About the Author: Adanna Adaka was born and raised in Nigeria. Upon her graduation from Canisius College in 2016, she began a year of service with the St. Joseph Worker Program of Orange. She works in Mission Hospital devoting her time to serving the underserved population and advocating for social change. In her spare time she loves to read romance novels, watch movies, and play soccer!