March 5, 2017

1st Sun., Lent

March 5, 2017:  First Sunday of Lent

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below


For the gospel
For Psalm 51
From Ed  Bolduc's blog (most gospel-inspired)
For future Sundays
Pope Francis Angelus
Give the Bible the same place in your life as cellphones.  What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, opened it more often, read God's message in the Bible like we read messages on our phones?  The Bible contains God's Word, the most effective tool to fight evil and keep us close to God.  If we always carried God’s Word in our hearts, no temptation would distance us from the Father, no obstacle take us off the path towards good.
With his temptations, Satan wanted to divert Jesus from the path of obedience and humility–he knew this was how to conquer evil–and take the false shortcut to glory and success.  But Jesus blocked his poisonous darts with the shield of God’s Word; he didn't use his own words, only Scripture, and thus, filled with the force of the Spirit, victoriously crossed the desert.
Follow in Jesus’ footsteps battling evil with the strength of God’s Word.  Become more familiar with the Bible:  read it often, reflect on it, assimilate it; it contains God's Word which is always topical and effective.  What would happen if it were always with us, close to us?
Wordle: Readings 3-9-14
  • Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7  God formed man and gave him life, then planted a garden and placed him there.  The serpent tempted the woman to eat forbidden fruit; she ate and gave some to her husband, their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked.
  • Ps 51:3-6, 12-13, 17  "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."  Create a clean heart for me.  Open my lips, and I'll praise you.
  • Rom 5:12-19  Through one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, judged, condemned, and died; through Jesus' obedience, many will receive grace and be made just.
  • Mt 4:1-11  Jesus fasted 40 days in the desert and was hungry.  The devil tempted him:  “If you're God's Son, turn these stones into bread.” / “One does not live on bread alone, but on God's word.” /  “If you're God's Son, throw yourself down and let the angels support you.” / “You shall not put God to the test.” / "I'll give you these kingdoms if you worship me.” / “Go, Satan!  It's written:  Worship and serve God alone.”  The devil left him, and angels ministered to Jesus.
    • Creighton:  Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit; she and 'Adam' wanted the “quick and easy.”  In the 2nd reading, Paul contrasts disobedience ('not-listening') with the 'listening' of the "New Adam," one man's sin with Jesus' life lived to its end on the “Tree of the Cross.”  In the passage before today's gospel, Jesus was announced as the Father's “beloved”; he heard what He said and was sent to live his identity.  The devil encounters Jesus hungry, vulnerable, and unsupported; he tempts him to forget himself, his name, and what he heard and listen to what others would say about him.  “Forget yourself, your name, what you heard; listen to what others would say of you....” The Tempter, fashioner of the “quick-and easy,” is still working to convince us that knowledge is wisdom and can be obtained fast.  May we listen to our names and identities again and continue to climb the "Tree of Life" and rejoice in the fruit it offers to patient climbers.
      Temptation of Christ
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The view from the desert":  In the desert you can see clearly, live simply, and discern value clearly.  In Lent, the Spirit leads us into the spiritual desert to speak to us. Temptations can be seen more clearly.  Things that seem important in society, such as the regard of others, fade into obscurity in the spiritual desert, but things that seem obscure, such as God's opinion of you, are critically important.  Your need for God's provision and protection is acute, and rebelling against God's direction can be fatal.  The desert is a place of love, where the Lord allures us by pouring his love into us.  The Israelites grumbled in the desert, but we'll rejoice.  "In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!"
    • Passionist:  When Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened as the serpent promised, but we're called to 'look again' (metanoia, repent) with the eyes of love.  Jesus gives us eyes to see with compassion; we can't stay the same if we look at each other with compassion.  Seeing with new eyes changes us, and we're called to follow that change with acts of charity.  May we continue to open our eyes to see with compassion, and perform those works of mercy....
    •  "Jesus fasted and was tempted":  The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, though it was scorching by day, freezing by night, full of wild animals, and scarce of food and water.  'Tempt' can mean to entice to do wrong, but it also means test (prove, assess preparation for a task).  God tests his people to see whether they're ready to follow him unreservedly.  God tested Abraham to prove his faith and strengthen his hope, and Abraham obeyed.  When the Israelites were tested, they kept God's word and remembered his promise.  When God called Moses to free them from captivity, he led them into the wilderness, where Moses ascended Sinai and met with God for 40 days.  Elijah was also led on a 40-day journey to Sinai (=Horeb) to seek God, and God sustained him with bread from heaven.  Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days sustained only by what the Father provided, left to wrestle with the temptation to seek a course that would avoid pain,  humiliation, rejection, suffering, and crucifixion.   His testing was similar to the Eve and Adam's; God provided them all they needed to fulfill the stewardship entrusted to them.  He tested their love and fidelity with one command, but they listened to a rebel angel who tempted them with pride and envy.  Because of their disobedience, they were driven from Paradise into the wilderness, but Jesus entered the wilderness to regain Paradise for us.  He refused food to show his dependence on the word of God, on which he fed.  He found strength in doing his Father's will.  Satan will surely tempt us to choose our will over God's, to make choices that will lead us away from what God wants for us.  Jesus overcame sin by the grace and strength his Father gave him.  He wanted to please his Father and trusted he'd give him strength to overcome all obstacles.  Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit"; when tempted, he relied on power the Spirit gave him.  His obedience to his Father and willingness to embrace the cross reversed the curse of Adam's disobedience.  The Lord gives us his Spirit to help us in our weakness and be our guide in temptation and testing; he gives grace to those who humbly acknowledge their dependence on him and helps us stand against our enemy's lies and attacks....
    • Trumped saint, from Universalis:  Kieran (Ciarán of Saighir), monk, bishop, apostle of Ireland
    Dress legend
    • 'Tree' pin:  Tree of Life vs. Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (1st reading)
    • 'Garden' tie:  Garden of Eden (1st reading) 
    • 'Apple' pin:  Sign of forbidden fruit (1st reading)
    • 'Serpent' pin:  Serpent (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  They ate and their eyes were opened (1st reading)
    • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Create a clean heart... (psalm)
    • 'Dove' pin:  Don't take your Holy Spirit from me (psalm)
    • Crucifix:  Jesus' righteous act (2nd reading)
              • 'Stone' tie pin:  "Turn these stones into bread" (gospel)
              • 'Angel' pin:  Angels ministered to Jesus (gospel)

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