1st Sunday of Lent (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Lent.
Sunday 9th March: First Sunday of the Lent (a)
The first reading, from the Book of Genesis, tells of the fall of Adam and Eve. Through their disobedience, the gifts God intended for us in his creation are lost.
St. Paul reminds in his Letter to the Romans, that Jesus, by his obedience to God, wins those gifts back for us. He is the new Adam and overcomes the power of sin in our world.
The Gospel passage tells us how Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil but, unlike Adam and Eve, he does not give in
Monday 10th March: Feast of St. John Ogilvie.
John Ogilvie was born near Keith and was brought up as a Calvinist. After being received into the Catholic Church, he became a Jesuit priest. He worked in Edinburgh and Glasgow, often underground for fear of his safety, bringing many to a knowledge of the Catholic faith. He was eventually betrayed, imprisoned, tortured and hanged in Glasgow in 1615.
Tuesday 11th March: Tuesday in the first week of Lent.
This passage from Isaiah provides us with a very effective image of the power of God’s word. It is compared to rain and snow that come to the earth, give growth, and then return to the heavens. The Word nourishes, challenges, and does not go back empty handed.
The prayer of Jesus’ followers must be linked with forgiveness. Jesus teaches us how to pray with the words of the Our Father and Matthew’s account adds in a little paraphrase at the end.
Wednesday 12th March : Wednesday in the first week of Lent.
In the reading from the Book of Jonah, it is worth remembering that Jonah, a Jew, was a reluctant preacher and that he was preaching to the people of Assyria who had brought down the northern kingdom of Israel. Their response is all the more remarkable. They fasted and they repented.
Jesus constantly refused to work miracles or signs simply to satisfy curiosity. When he worked a miracle, it was always linked with a spiritual message e.g. the need for faith. Therefore, he reminds the crowd that all the signs they need are already there and they should follow the example of the Ninevites and turn away from sin.
Thursday 13th March: Thursday in the first week of Lent.
The story of Esther was written at a time when the Jews had come through a period of great persecution. In the reading, we have her great prayer. Her courage came from her belief that God alone would save his people and that he would answer her prayers.
This theme is taken up in the Gospel where he read about Jesus urging his followers to pray with trust in the goodness and providence of God and then ask him to give us what we need rather than what we want.
Friday 14th March: Friday in the first week of Lent.
Often we blame the community or the system for the evils of society and for the sins we commit. This shrugging off of responsibility is timeless. Jesus dealt with it and so did Ezekiel before him. Ezekiel tells us: you are personally responsible for your sins and you must repent. If you do God will take you back into his arms. Jesus tells us it is our personal attitude and intention that counts most of all. True worship doesn’t consist in private, self-centred religious practice but in being committed to Jesus’ task of reconciliation and service.
Let us pray that all of us will be able to take the first step to forgive others when others have hurt us.
Saturday 15th March: Saturday in the first week of Lent.
To be chosen or singled out for a purpose implies responsibility. Israel is reminded of its responsibilities if the people are to be truly a consecrated nation, a holy people. If they live according to his word, they will be assured of God’s care for them.
In the Gospel, we have part of the Sermon on the Mount. The call to perfection is put before us. For the Hebrew, perfection meant wholeness, completeness. To be true children of our Father in heaven we must go a step further in our relationship with him and with each other than the non-believer does. Loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us – that is what we called to do in our daily lives.
‘Tell the children about God and His Saints.
During the holy time of Lent,
Speak to them of their suffering Saviour.
During Paschal time, of his glorious Resurrection.
During Christmas time, of His Birth.
You will see what a profound impression it will make on the minds of your children.’
(St. John Vianney)