March 9, 2014 Readings and Reflection
First Sunday of Lent (NAB Readings) (Jerusalem Bible Readings)
We’re now in the season of Lent, our spiritual time in the desert as we prepare for the great season of Easter. It’s a time of penitential season, a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
GN 2:7-9; 3:1-7
In this week’s first reading from the first book of the Bible, we look back at our origin and creation as a people. We see the two separate elements used to create us, the dirt and breath of God. These are representative our collective body and soul. The very breath of God lives in us and animates us.
Even living in the presence of God, the flesh was weak and fell into temptation from Satan. He goes through a slow process of helping Adam and Eve rationalize why they would be justified to go against God. They became convinced that they couldn’t trust what God had given them and felt as if God was holding out on them. What they gained was sin and shame. Sin is deceitful. It shows itself to us as appealing and lofty promises only to let us down. We are a broken people in need of a Savior.
Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
R/ (cf. 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
In the second reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, we learn about why the Church teaches of original sin. Sometimes we look at the innocent, like babies, and think how are they capable of sin? Saint Paul shows us that sin came into the world and death took reign. This state of original comes from our collective nature that is bound by our unavoidable death. Jesus came into the world with the purpose of reversing this loss since the Garden of Eden. St Paul shows us that just like one man brought down all of humanity into this state, one man, the Son of God, came to restore life and our relationship with God.
In this week’s Gospel from St Matthew, we hear of Jesus’ journey into the desert in preparation for his public ministry. In only eleven verses we gain incredible insight into spiritual warfare and the reality of the person of Jesus.
First we see that Jesus, in all His divinity, is also completely man. After time in the desert, he became very hungry. We also hear quotes directly from Satan for the second time at this week’s Holy Mass. This time Satan focuses his attack directly on Jesus himself, each time increasing his demands. He begins by tempting Jesus to satisfy his hunger with stones turned to bread, then he increases it to test the Father’s protection over Him in the wilderness. Finally, Satan tempts him is a reversal of His mission, questioning Jesus why He would have to endure such struggles for so long in the desert, all for the price of worship of Satan. Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully man, and each time, it is a real temptation, but in His perfection, Jesus overcomes as an example for us.
Satan always tries to trick us in cunning ways that twist what we believe. If it were obviously bad for us, it probably wouldn’t be a temptation for us. This week’s Gospel should also be a wake up for anyone that doesn’t try to learn more about Scripture. We see here that Jesus Himself had to enter into a debate over its meaning with Satan, that knew it well enough to quote.
This Lent is an opportunity to journey hand in hand with our Lord to overcome our personal demons and be restored to new life through the cross.
Have a blessed Lent.
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