March 1, 2020

1st Sun., Lent

March 1, 2020:  First Sunday of Lent

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

    For the gospel
    For Psalm 51
    For future celebrations
    Pope Francis Angelus

    Jesus prepared to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven by fasting for forty days; then the devil tried to put Jesus to the test.  The first temptation arose from Jesus' hunger:  “If you're the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”  But Jesus responded, “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word from God's mouth.”  Next, the devil invited Jesus to put God to the test.  But Jesus didn't let himself be confounded, because believers don't put God to the test but entrust themselves to his goodness.  Finally, the devil revealed his true reasoning:  he wanted to distract Jesus from his mission by presenting a political perspective.”  But Jesus rejected the idolatry of power and drove the tempter away:  “Begone!  It is written. ‘The Lord alone shall you worship and serve.’”

    Jesus didn't dialogue with the devil; he responded with God's Word.  Be careful to do the same as Satan breaks into your life to tempt you, joining other voices to entice us to experience the intoxication of transgression.  Jesus’ experience teaches us temptation tries to get us to walk paths that aren't God's that might give us a sense of self-sufficiency, of enjoying life as an end in itself, but it's illusory, and soon we realize that the more we distance ourselves from God, the more defenseless and helpless we feel in the face of problems.  May the mother of him who crushed the serpent's head help us be vigilant in the face of temptation, not submit to any idol world, and follow Jesus in the battle against evil so we may be victorious with him.

    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:  Hearing of Satan's testing of Jesus prompts us to ponder how I'm tested.  St. George and the Dragon recounts the tale of George battling a dragon plaguing a city.  He's cut, beaten, and bruised, his clothes are torn and shield battered, but his bravery shines amid his fear and knowledge of his weakness.  When Satan tempted Jesus, I imagine Jesus tired, hungry, and suffering but with faith in his Father shining and enabling him to resist.  May we put such trust in God and know the strength and grace he gives us in our weakness so we too may overcome the 'dragon' before us.
        Temptation of Christ
      • One Bread, One Body:  The fundamental temptation of Christ and Christians is to doubt the Spirit's proclamation of our being the Father's children.  Today at the Rite of Election, the Church accepts millions who choose to be baptized at Easter....
      • Passionist:  Today's 1st reading shows arrogance and violence breaking into the beauty of creation.  Graced and sacred as we are, we're capable of failure and sin.  Beauty and death mingle in our heritage as human beings.  But death doesn't have the last word:  God regrets the destruction caused by the flood and promises never to destroy the world.  God makes a pact with Abraham and Moses, and the story of redemption unfolds, reaching its climax in Jesus revealing God’s unconditional love for the world.  Lent reminds us of our frailty and mortality, but it leads to Easter and God's promise of new life.  In the 2nd reading, Paul speaks of “two Adams”:  the sin of the first ushered sin and death into the world, but the “New Adam” brings grace and new life.  Jesus' death and resurrection shatters the reign of sin and death and restores hope.  The gospel plays out that tension between death and life.  Before Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus was baptized and suffused with God's lifegiving Sprit and declared to be God’s beloved Son.  Now Jesus enters the desert and endures the assaults of evil and remains faithful to his Father’s will.  Lent is a time to take stock and remember our need for repentance and renewal but also a reminder of God’s love for us and an invitation to bask in his forgiveness and promise of life.
      •  "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....
        Querida Amazonia capsule:  An ecclesial dream

        The Church's journey alongside the people of the region continues, and missionary efforts need to grow in a culture of encounter towards multifaceted harmony. 

        The message that needs to be heard in the region:  Organizations, resources, discussion, and political programs can all help solve the region's problems, but we can't set aside the gospel's call to faith.  We're not ashamed of Jesus Christ.  We must speak of him and bring others his offer of new life.  An authentic option for the poor involves inviting them to a friendship with the Lord that can elevate and dignify them.  We serve them and work for justice and dignity because we see Christ in them and acknowledge the love and dignity the Father has given them.

        They have a right to hear the Gospel.  God infinitely loves every person and has revealed this love fully in Christ, crucified for us and risen in our lives.   Reread the summary of this “great message” in Christus Vivit [111-133].  Without that proclamation, we wouldn't be following Christ's command to preach the Gospel to all creation.  Growth in Christian life must be centered on this message.  The fundamental response is fraternal charity; the kerygma and fraternal charity is the synthesis of the Gospel; it shaped Latin America's great evangelizers like SS. Turibius of Mogrovejo and Joseph of Anchieta. [IV:61-65]

        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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