1ST SUNDAY OF LENT
1st Reading: Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7
The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
2nd Reading: Rom 5:12-19 or Rom 5:12, 17-19
Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, in as much as all sinned— for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one, the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many. And the gift is not like the result of the one who sinned. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal. For if, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ. In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act, acquittal and life came to all. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.
Gospel: Mt 4:1-11
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, rand afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Getaway, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
WHAT STRENGTHS DID WE RECEIVE DURING BAPTISM? Whenever I pass near the Baptismal font, I profess that were it not for the font, I would not be the way I am. Had I not been washed and thus placed on the way to Eternal Salvation, I would not be a Christian or even a priest. Each Year, the Church uses this Lenten Season to take us back to the Baptismal Font. This is to remind us from where our lives in Christ started. During this period, we are invited to recall our relationship with Christ. We are reminded how to walk with God. In the Gospel, Jesus goes to the wilderness, to loneliness, in order to combat the Evil One. He needs time to prepare before starting the preaching of the Good News of Salvation, since the Kingdom of God is near. The Church also leads us into the wilderness so that we can cherish God’s grace which will strengthen us, as we fight with the Evil One in our journey of faith, as we move towards salvation. The wilderness is a place of solitude where one is set aside from all that could be of help. One is in danger of death. It is when in that state, that Jesus encounters Satan, whom we too are meant to confront in different ways in our lives. For us Catholics, Lent invites us to retreat and pay attention to the challenges that we encounter when following Christ, those that hinder our path to holiness. We are invited to remember that the Cross is the beginning of freedom and salvation. In the Baptismal Font we were promised that we shall have all we need to overcome these challenges and obstacles. This therefore, is a season of joy (preparation for Easter), a time of temptations (fighting Satan), a season of promise (we remember what we promised at baptism), and a season to turn to the strengths that we got during Baptism. Let us listen to the voice of God.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you have granted us this Lenten period as a chance to repent and renew our lives. Grant that we may align our choices to your Word through your Divine grace. Amen.
TEMPTATIONS: A teacher walked into the class holding a copy of a book that was in the library. Immediately after the greeting, he raised the book up giving warning to the class, “Whoever is caught reading this book shall be expelled.” He feared that the story in the book, would have such a negative moral effect on the students at that age. As remedy to this, he was sure that a fore-warning would be the best for his students. To his dismay, by evening of the same day, every student had read the story. Our lives are full of temptations urging us against God. These may be from inner desires to have that which belongs to another, or from our faith, doubting God’s power and ability. We may also fall into the temptation of wrongly seeking fame and worldly possessions. When faced with these instances, we are called to imitate Christ (Mt 4:1-11), not to allow temptations to destroy our good relationship with God.