On Ash Wednesday we entered the desert of Lent. On Sunday, the Church tells us why. The mass readings lay out the problem and the start of God’s plan and they set us on the right road for this 40-day journey to Easter.
Will you come into the Word with me this Lent?
Every Sunday during Lent I will reflect briefly on the readings then give you a way to extend your own reflection on them into the week.
Readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent: Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Psa 51; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11
This year, we are plunged straight into The Beginning: God’s good creation and the way that our first parents, dazzled by a counterfeit, traded God’s good for something lesser (and fatal.!) We know, if they did not, that nothing was ever again the same. Every one of us reaches for the bright fruit of “me first” and goes our own way. And so it’s a relief when at mass, the cantor leads us in the Response to Psalm 51: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”
That Psalm, like the reading from Genesis, begins with God’s goodness. It is only because of his goodness that we can hope for joy. “Create in me a clean heart!” the psalmist cries, and we cry it with him.
“Brothers and sisters,” continues the second reading, “Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death…” (Rom 5:12). But another man, Jesus, obeyed — breaking the hold that sin has on us, and making life possible again!
So onto the Gospel. Jesus enters the desert in order to be tempted like we are, and show us the way to be free. He models there what we will do during Lent as we learn to direct our hunger to him and the Living Bread that truly satisfies our longing.
The readings at mass are not arbitrary.
Every Sunday, the Church chooses the First Reading to go with the Gospel. Then the Psalm provides a bridge and our response. Sometimes (but not always) the Second Reading ties in as well. The connections are more obvious in Lent and Advent and on feast days, but they always are there. Perhaps you already reflect ahead of time on the Gospel. I would like to suggest that during Lent you carry the Word with you into the following week. You can do this by meditating for as little as ten minutes a day. Take one reading at a time, then on Friday spend a little more time with the Lord. Review the Scriptures together and ask Jesus, the Living Word, to speak through them into your life.
I put together a reading checklist for our 40-day journey through Lent with instructions to help you keep on track. Feel free to make copies for friends or fellow parishioners who might want to join us.
Friend and message me on facebook if you would like to join a closed group conversation for Lent.
Blessings on you as you enter his Word!
©2017 Sarah Christmyer
Kelly Wahlquist says
Thanks for doing this Sarah. I am in and will join you on this 40 day scriptural journey. The handout is beautiful, and there is something about a checklist that is satisfying. Funny how checking a little box can bring about the sense of such great accomplishment. I am looking forward to seeing what is accomplished in me spiritually through the meditation on scripture in this intentional way this Lent. Looking forward to my daily prayer time even more now.
Sarah Damm says
I really love this plan, Sarah! I would definitely like to incorporate this into my Lent, and I am interested in a closed discussion group, too.
Sarah this looks really nice. I’m going to send it to the other women in my Faith Sharing group.
Elyse Falk says
Thanks so much for sharing this Sarah, it will be such an enormous help to guide us through lent!
Love to join. Thank you! Eva
KARIN CARMICHAEL says
Meditating on the word “obedience” — the command to obey is not to rob us of fun in life but to guide us into a life of peace, love and joy. As I grow in my knowledge of His Word I understand how to better walk in that obedience every day by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, guard my tongue and give me strength to face the challenges of life. ” . . . . obedience to every word of God is what we need.” Matthew 4:4b (Living Bible translation)
Nina Gallacher says
As it relates to yesterday’s gospel and the readings , Lent is a good time to repent, but too a good time to discern on what we do good and do more of it. I often feel , and I come from Judaism, so I too know something about , ‘guilt’ that we emphasize more on ‘our sin’ then on Him and the fact that He loves us, that He died for our sins and that He has given us eternity while taking on all ‘our sins’, so to embibe in the mindset of ‘all that guilt’ and I could do a number on myself, if I let me, I’d rather focus on John’s homily , what struck me is when he spoke of the painting with Jesus and The Light in front of Matthew, while he was sitting their ‘hoarding ‘ his money, but the important thing was that God was calling him to come to Him, to get out of the ‘dark’ and join Him in the Light of repentance and forgiveness, and to do good by Christ, this is what I want to focus on this Lent, to do good by Him, not focus on all the ‘bad self’, as doing that to me is like saying, all He did is for naught, which is so not the case.
Arlita M Winston says
Sarah, I am going to LOVE walking through this with you! Quietly, taking our time!