First Sunday of Lent

Call to worship

This is the time of fulfillment. We begin the holy season of Lent facing our human temptations with the support of God’s love, ready to change our lives for the better. We take the journey of Lent seriously — rejecting temptation, rebalancing our priorities and choosing to be in deeper relationship with God.

  • To the point: Jesus spent 40 days alone in the desert and was vulnerable, so the devil tried to allure him with tantalizing temptations. Temptation is essentially an enticement to put our own desires and needs first. Resisting temptation, then, is really resisting self-centeredness. Like Jesus, we must choose instead to surrender ourselves to God who alone should be the center of our lives. To make any other choice is to choose a false god. This First Sunday of Lent poses this question: Do we serve god or God?
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matt. 4:1-11) to the second reading: The second reading contrasts Adam, who did not resist temptation with its consequences for humanity, and Christ, who did resist temptation and so gave humanity the promise of new Life. How frequently we are like Adam; how continuously grace calls us to be like Christ!
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: We use the word “temptation” rather lightly in all kinds of contexts; for example, we say we are “tempted” to abandon our diet for a sumptuous dessert. But the nature of temptation described in this Sunday’s readings is much more serious, for its consequences involve our very Life and salvation.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 4: 1-11)

“At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert.”

Jesus take us to the desert and stay with us.
Speak to our hearts about all that
matters. Chase away everything that doesn’t.
Caress our hearts so they know you better,
see you more clearly in the suffering
of your children and your planet.
Let us say to all who suffer,
“Your tears are my tears.
Your pain is my pain.”*
* Pope Francis, Congo 2/1/23

The First Reading

(Genesis 2: 7-9, 3: 1-7)

“The Lord formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life.”

Father, you make us from clay.
You whisper your life into us daily.
But we sin. Thank you for sending Jesus to re-form us.

The Second Reading

(Romans 5: 12-19)

“But the gift is not like the transgression.”

Dearest Father, you soften our sins with your grace,
you make them soil for the seed that you plant.
The crop that you raise is your only son.
Please let our love for each other, in you
be a portion of your yield, a small part of his love for us.

Copyright © 2020, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection