STRENGTH AGAINST TEMPTATION
The first Sunday of the season of Lent always includes a Gospel account of the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the desert by the devil. This year, the story is set against the backdrop of the first reading from Genesis, which recounts the very first temptation by the devil. That story is set in a garden of delight. The Gospel story is set in the desert. As believers, we know that temptation comes our way in our own gardens of delight as well as the deserts of our lives. As Lent begins, our attention is drawn to that temptation within each of us to become like God—we want control, power, and answers to all of life’s difficult questions. As communities of faith, we are given this season of repentance so that we can join our hearts with others on the difficult journey of conversion. We look to God and to one another for strength against temptation.
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First Reading — The man and the woman ate the fruit of the one tree that God had told them to avoid, and their shame overtook them (Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7).
Psalm — Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned (Psalm 51).
Second Reading — Death reigned from Adam to Moses, but now grace and life abound in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:12-19 [12, 17-19]).
Gospel — Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit and there he fasted for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:1-11).