In this first Sunday of Lent, Let’s recall Benedict XVI’s take on the three temptations. They are all about the use of the extraordinary to overcome temptation: to use supernatural power to change stones into bread = to transform the Christian message into a political/economic one (akin to Marxism); to throw Himself from the temple top and be saved by some supernatural miracle = to seek extraordinary sensible signs to convince people of the truth of Christ; and to change the world into a global Christian theocracy = to transform Christianity into a global political ideology.
The extraordinary is always working on the epistemological level of sensible perception and conceptual or propositional knowing. It is always working with the sensibly extrinsic, the empirical/scientific: the technological.
Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things, cannot be known except by migrating to the transcendent level on which He can be experienced as person. Of course, Christ was experienced sensibly (“Feel me and see” Lk. 24), Even John the Baptist slipped from that level evidenced by the question at the end of his life: “Are you he who is to come, or should we look for another?” And the answer was to look at the mercy of Christ giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, etc. in secret. But, Ratzinger commented on this passage saying that you can’t find Christ as you find dollar bills and neon signs. You have to sacrifice yourself in service to the others in order to experience the Christ that is passing you by in ordinary life. If you go out of yourself thinking about others and not thinking about yourself, you will recognize Him.
And so, Lent is calling us out to the peripheries.