The Temptations of Politicians (Matthew chap. 4, verse 9)

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me

In the previous verse the glory of the kingdoms of the earth that the devil had promised is the human glory, linked to the kingdoms and imperial provinces on which the Emperor demanded submission and adoration. The devil tries to remove Jesus from his mission as Son of God, tempting him with glory – in Greek doxa – i.e. the prestige, the honor, the sparkle of a worldly power, being part of a circle of very important people, which dominates and demands respect and veneration. But this is not the perspective of Jesus, because the glory that he has in mind is different and belongs to another world and only starting from this other world, he is able to resist the suggestions of the devil.

It is the kavod – the Hebrew word that corresponds to the Greek doxa – of which the sanctuary in the desert was circumducted (Ex 32 ss.). A glory that comes from above, from God and not from human power and prestige. Here Jesus is the image, the icon, of every politician who, sooner or later, comes to the crossroads: choose the glory that comes from his soul, from the essence innervated by the presence of God, or choose the glory that prestige and power can grant him, but always in a precarious and temporary way.

To choose God means not prostrating oneself to the one that with his way of doing, with his talk, with his prestige and influence promises the world. To choose God means not prostrating oneself in front of the powerful, in front of people who want submission. It is necessary to look at the evil – which often hides behind a false social humanitarianism – telling him what Jesus would tell him.

Simone Venturini


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