The devil roamed the moral wilderness of the international food industry, and met a supplier, hungry for profits. The devil said to him, ‘As you have the means to do it, why don’t you substitute horsemeat for beef?’ And the supplier said, ‘That sounds like a profitable idea, I’ll give it a try’.
Then the devil came across the executive of a multinational supermarket chain and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority, if you do things my way, exploiting the land and the poor to maximise your profits.’ And the executive said, ‘Show me the contract, I’ll get our lawyers to approve it straightaway’.
Then the devil appeared at a supermarket checkout, and said to the customers purchasing processed food, ‘If you throw yourself wholeheartedly into consuming food full of additives, fat, sugar, and calories, you have nothing to fear, for the angels of God will protect you from cancer, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay.’ And they said, ‘I believe you, here’s my loyalty card’.
The three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness are the very same temptations which we all succumb to today:
(1) The temptation to turn stones into bread - or horsemeat into beef: in other words to manipulate nature for our own gain; a temptation which troubles our delicate relationship with the earth;
(2) The temptation to gain power and authority over others in the world: to stop at nothing to improve our wealth and social status; a temptation which troubles our delicate relationship with others; and
(3) The temptation to jump from the temple: that is, to behave in self-destructive ways, believing that however noxious our lifestyle, we will be saved; a temptation which troubles our delicate relationship with God.
The horsemeat scandal of today brings this home: that our relationships with the earth and its creatures, with each other and with God, are deeply affected by the way we give in so readily to temptation. ...
From The temptations of Jesus and the horsemeat scandal, my talk today.