YEAR A – MARCH 1, 2020 FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT (Lec. 22)
1) Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
2) Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19
3) Matthew 4:1-11 Gospel related: CCC 333, 394, 2083, 2135, 2835, 2849 CSDC 175, 379
FOCUS: May this journey of Lent help us to return to God and put him first in our lives and hearts.
Today’s readings, as we begin the season of Lent, give us two special reminders that will help us on our journey: Who God is and who we are as human beings.
The reading from Genesis presents our creation story:The Lord God formed us out of the clay of the ground, and animated us by breathing life into us. Without God, we simply would not exist.
Yet from the very beginning, it has been hard for us as human beings to remember this basic fact. Like Adam and Eve, it is very easy for us to fall into the trap of wanting to be like God – wanting to be in charge of our lives and wanting to know good from evil. We certainly can go through our lives reacting to our problems and challenges as if we’re in charge of everything, and forget to rely on the wisdom and guidance of God. Perhaps, however, as we begin our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, our focus should be to remember to put God first in our lives, and to wrest out of our lives anything we want to put before God.
Jesus gives us a masterful example of how to do just that in the Gospel, as he’s confronted with various temptations by the devil. For every temptation that Satan puts before him, Jesus counters with a reminder that God comes first. Tempted to make stones into bread after 40 days of fasting, Jesus notes that we live not only on bread, but on the word of God. Tempted to fall down and let God save him, he reminds the devil that he is not to put Got to the test. Finally, tempted with all the riches of the world if he only worships Satan, Jesus counters that God alone should be worshiped. Jesus gives us a clear model: In all temptations to hunger, power and wealth, we are to remember that God, our Creator, comes first.
As we begin our own challenging journey of Lent, let us be assured by the words of Paul in today’s second reading. Although sin abounds in our world, God’s grace abounds even more. As we struggle in the weeks ahead to put God first, to remove from our lives the obstacles to our union with God, God gives us graces to help us in our struggle. We are never alone on the journey when we strive to come closer to God – God is always waiting to give us any help we need, if only we remember to turn to him. Let us face the Lent ahead with the courage and strength of Jesus.