Saturday, March 08, 2014
First Sunday of Lent
First Sunday of Lent
Gen 2: 7-9; 3:1-7 / Ps 51: 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17 / Rom 5: 12-19 or 5: 12, 17-19 / Mt 4: 1-11
First Reading: Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Then Yahweh God formed Man, dust drawn from the clay, and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and Man became alive with breath. God planted a garden in Eden in the east and there he placed Man whom he had created. Yahweh God caused to grow from the ground every kind of tree that is pleasing to see and good to eat, also 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 crafty of all the wild creatures that Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say: You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God said: 'You must not eat, and you must not touch it or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You will not die, but God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." The woman saw the fruit was good to eat, and pleasant to the eyes, and ideal for gaining knowledge. She took its fruit and ate it and gave some to her husband who was with her. He ate it. Then their eyes were opened and both of them knew they were naked. So they sewed leaves of a fig tree together and made themselves loincloths.
Second Reading: Rom 5:12-19
Therefore, sin entered the world through one man and through sin, death, and later on death spread to all humankind, because all sinned. As long as there was no law, they could not speak of disobedience, but sin was already in the world. This is why from Adam to Moses death reigned among them, although their sin was not disobedience as in Adam's case – this was not the true Adam, but foretold the other who was to come. Such has been the fall, but God's gift goes far beyond. All died because of the fault of one man, but how much more does the grace of God spread when the gift he granted reaches all, from this unique man Jesus Christ. Again, there is no comparison between the gift and the offense of one man. The disobedience that brought condemnation was of one sinner, whereas the grace of God brings forgiveness to a world of sinners. If death reigned through the disobedience of one and only one person, how much more will there be a reign of life for those who receive the grace and the gift of true righteousness through the one person, Jesus Christ. Just as one transgression brought sentence of death to all, so, too, one man's good act has brought justification and light to all; and as the disobedience of only one made all sinners, so the obedience of one person allowed all to be made just and holy.
Gospel: Mt 4:1-11
Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert that he be put to the test by the devil. After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, order these stones to turn into bread." But Jesus answered, "Scripture says one does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, set him on the highest wall of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for scripture says. God has given orders to his angels about you. Their hands will hold you up lest you hurt your foot against a stone." Jesus answered, "But scripture also says: You shall not put to the test the Lord your God." Then the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the nations of the world in all their greatness and splendor. And he said, "All this I will give you, if you kneel and worship me." The Jesus answered, "Be off, Satan! Scripture says: worship the Lord your God and serve him alone." Then the devil left him, and angels came to serve him.
Sometime in April of 1955, the late Fr. Joe Eliazo, S.J. gave days of recollection to businessmen of Manila at the La Ignaciana retreat house on Herran street now Pedro Gil. On one particular Sunday he gave a fiery talk to the group on the topic of material possession. He ended his talk by asking his audience, "What does it profit a man to own all the machineries of Japan and in the end lose his soul?" Well, this was before the age of computers and all the gadgets of modern living, but Fr. Joe knew exactly where businessmen might have been tempted to invest heavily and think only of material profit and not of spiritual needs.
Temptations are facts of life. Since the time our first parents rebelled against the Lord we always have to deal with the tendency to turn away from God. That is why every year the Church reminds us to turn away from our ways and to turn back to God. Paul reminds us in the second reading that it is through the death of Jesus that we all have been saved. Each year we come back to the Lord to renew our commitment to love him and our brothers and sisters.
The gospel briefly described the three scenarios that Satan attempted to tempt Jesus to fulfill his Father's will. First, the devil asked Jesus to turn the stone to bread. Jesus dismissed the devil by saying that one does not need bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of God. In the second temptation the devil tells Jesus to hurl himself down the cliff because God would send his angels to protect him, but Jesus tells the devil not to put the Lord to the test. In the third test the devil promises Jesus all kingdoms of the earth on condition that Jesus adores the devil. But Jesus tells the devil to go away and that he should adore only God and no one else.
What are some of the temptations that we moderns have to deal with today? First, there is the trend towards disbelief in anything spiritual and anything that deals with God. The advancements in the industrial and medical fields as well as in other technological fields sometimes make it look like we no longer need God today. It makes believers out of place and inconsistent with the modern age. But keep in mind that the Lord is the Creator of the Universe and the gospel points out to us today that we should adore Him alone, not technology, nor technocrats nor anyone else.
The second temptation is to think that we can solve all problems with our human minds. Brilliant minds have succeeded in bringing about innovated changes into the modern world. We can travel to various parts of the world quickly and safely, we communicate with our loved ones instantly, we can cook our meals instantly and we can go on and on enumerating the modern conveniences that make life easier to live. The temptation is that we can solve all the problems in the world.
The third temptation is to hold on to power. Power can come from money or one's position in society or one's status. The clergy or people in government can wield so much power over others and if unchecked may lead to abuse and disrespect of authority. If we keep in mind that Christ came to serve and not to be served and use that as a principle in our dealing with our brothers and sisters, then we can safely say that we are on the way to holiness. Also it is an excellent antidote to the temptation to hold on to power. Real power is ultimately serving others in the Lord.
So as we begin Lent, we ask Jesus to free us from any temptation that leads us away from him and to ask for the grace to always come back to him because he is full of gentleness and compassion.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
… for families who are in need of healing.
… for personal intentions
* Pauline Kahn
... for the repose of the soul
* Eliezer Billanes
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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