1st Sunday of Lent (c)
Season of Lent
Sunday 14th February: 1st Sunday of Lent (c).
All three readings today are concerned with the faithfulness of God.
In the first reading, from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses, reminds the people of their sacred history and their identity and all that God has done for them especially in the Exodus. Our worship of God is recognition of his blessings and favours to us.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Romans. St. Paul teaches that belief in Jesus’ resurrection is the mark of believers. It must be professed not just with one’s lips but also with one’s life.
The Gospel tells of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. He was tempted like we are but did not sin. Through his grace, we too can resist temptation and overcome sin.
Monday 15th February: Monday in the 1st week of Lent.
This short passage from the Holiness Code in the Book of Leviticus insists on the need to be a good neighbour. Speaking through Moses, the Lord gives what could be described as illustrations of the latter part of the Ten Commandments. The passage is summed up with ‘you must love your neighbour as yourself’ which Jesus himself was to use and link with our love of God.
In the Gospel, we have the scene of the Last Judgement. We will be judged on well we have lived out the Ten Commandments in our daily lives. We constantly need reminded that, when we reach out to another, we reach out to Christ.
Tuesday 16th February: Tuesday in the 1st week of Lent.
God speaks to his people in many ways – through his deeds, through his word, spoken by the prophets but above all through Jesus Christ. Prayer is our echo to God’s word and his presence among us.
Let us pray that during this Lent, we will be a prayerful people, who not only pray for our own personal needs but also for those of the Church and world.
Wednesday 17th February: Wednesday in the 1st week of Lent.
Even for pagans, even for those known for their cruelty, like the people who enslaved the Jews, it is possible to be converted. When the author of the Book of Jonah told this to the Jews, it was an astonishing message to them.
Jesus challenges the Jews about this. Pagans are turning to God, but you who claim to be God’s people, are not. Lent is a time for us to make sure we have not become too smug in our faith – thinking that we are God’s people and therefore need no conversion when the exact opposite is true.
Let us pray that God may give each one of us the courage to hear God’s call to conversion and renewal so that we can become ever more faithful to him.
Thursday:18th February Thursday in the 1st week of Lent.
Prayer discloses all the riches of God’s mercy and goodness to us. He cannot resist us in our need, in our sadness in our joy, even in our silence when we don’t know what to say.
A human father or mother might end up giving because the person who asks insists. God gives because he is good and because he loves us. He is glad to give, he gives with joy and he gives more than we need sometimes.
Let us pray that the People of God may pray not only when they are in trouble and need but also to express their admiration, praise, joy and thanks.
Friday 19th February: Friday in the 1st 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 20th February: Saturday in the 1st week of Lent.
The life of the pious Jew could be summed up as a response to God’s covenant love with loyalty and faithfulness. This is also true of the follower of Jesus, even more so because God has taken the initiative of offering his love to his people. Therefore, we should be trying to return that love with a love that comes from our heart and takes us far beyond the law.
Let us pray that our conscience will guide us to choose good above evil, even if it uncomfortable or embarrassing.
‘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)