First Sunday of Lent Year C
– 6 March 2022-
Gospel reading: Luke 4:1-13
vs.1 Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness,
vs.2 being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry.
vs.3Then the devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.
vs.4 But Jesus replied,
“Scripture says, ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”
vs.5 Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him,
vs.6 “I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose.
vs.7 Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.”
vs.8 But Jesus answered him, “Scripture says,
‘You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.'”
vs.9 Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said to him “throw yourself down from here,
vs.10 for scripture says, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you to guard you,’ and again:
vs.11 ‘they will hold you up on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.'”
vs.12 But Jesus answered him,
“It has been said, ‘You must not put the Lord your God to the test.‘”
vs.13Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him, to return at the appointed time.
We have four commentators available from whom you may wish to choose .
Michel DeVerteuil : A Trinidadian Holy Ghost Priest, director of the Centre of Biblical renewal .
Thomas O’Loughlin: Professor of Historical Theology, University of Wales, Lampeter.
Sean Goan: Studied scripture in Rome, Jerusalem and Chicago and teaches at Blackrock College and works with Le Chéile
Donal Neary SJ: Editor of The Sacred Heart Messenger and National Director of The Apostleship of Prayer.
Lectio Divina with the Sunday Gospels
The story of Jesus’ temptation reveals to us the deepest thing about him: he had total trust in his heavenly Father. This is why the incident is placed at the very beginning of his public life. The evangelists are telling us that he chose this path and he would remain faithful to it through all the ups and downs of his ministry.
Telling the story in the form of ‘temptations’ does two things:
• Jesus’ attitude is highlighted since it is set in contrast with other possible attitudes;
• we are reminded that for Jesus trust was a free and deliberate choice, as it is for every human being: he chose to trust.
In meditating on the temptations, feel free to focus on the one that appeals to you and remain with it until you find yourself identifying deeply with it. Eventually you will find that all three are really variations on the one temptation not to be totally trusting.
The story has an introduction in verses 1 and 2 and a conclusion in verse 13. You might like to spend some time on these verses as they are very significant.
“What use are victories on the battlefields if we are defeated in our innermost personal selves?“ …Maximilian Kolbe
Lord, we like to remain on the banks of the river Jordan
where we busy ourselves with external activities,
organizing communities, entering into relationships, academic discussions.
We pray that during these forty days of Lent
we may allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit into the depths of ourselves,
into the wilderness, away from the world of achievements,
where we can face up to the evil tendencies that are active within us:
– our feeling that as children of God we have the right to dominate the world as we will;
– our yearning for the power and the glory of earthly kingdoms;
– the subtle ways in which we try to manipulate you.
We need not be afraid of this wilderness experience, Lord,
because even if we have to face evil in ourselves,
we will also discover, like Jesus,
that trust in your love is a law written deep within us,
and when the devil has exhausted all these ways of tempting us he will leave.
But, Lord, do not let us become complacent,
because the evil one will return at some time you have appointed,
and we must be ready to start the struggle all over again.
Lord, as a Church, we are inclined to remain on the banks of the Jordan,
content to baptise and preach and look after our Church affairs.
But if, like Jesus, we are filled with your Holy Spirit,
we too will leave the Jordan
and let the Spirit lead us through the wilderness,
through the worlds of politics, business, industrial relations and international trade,
being tempted there by the devil as all our contemporaries are,
so that we can find even within those wildernesses
that the words of scripture are still true.
Lord, we remember today a difficult period in our lives:
• our financial situation was very precarious;
• we had a succession of failures in our work;
• our children were causing us problems.
You led us through the wilderness for those forty days;
we felt as if we had nothing to nourish ourselves and we were hungry.
We were resentful too: were we not the children of God?
Why could we not take up a stone and tell it to turn into a loaf of bread?
Then one day it suddenly came home to us
that there is much more to life than having our needs satisfied.
We had discovered that we had loyal friends, good health,
and most of all trust in you.
Jesus had reminded us how scripture says that man does not live on bread alone.
“The hope that rests on calculation has lost its innocence.” …Thomas Merton
Lord, in the world today, people like to plan things rationally
and we would like to plan our lives that way too.
We would like to go up on a height
and see in a moment of time all the kingdoms of this world,
and then find out to whom the power and the glory of these kingdoms have been committed
so that they can be given to us.
But that, Lord, is the way of calculation,
whereas to become whole persons we must take the way of Jesus,
which is to have as our only security that we worship you,
our Lord and God, and that we serve you alone.
Lord, we thank you for great people who have touched our lives,
not world figures or those who make the headlines,
but ordinary people who have done their duty without fuss:
• parents who brought up mental, emotional, social or physically challenged children;
• dedicated teachers;
• business people who remained honest.
We thank you that they knew how to remain in the wilderness,
not threatening to throw themselves from the parapet of the temple
and calling on you to send angels who would guard them and hold them on their hands
so that they would not hurt their feet against a stone.
Like Jesus, they knew that you were their Lord and God,
and they did not have to put your love to the test.
Lord, Lent is a time when we have deep prayer experiences,
and we might think that in those experiences we are free from the evil one.
Remind us, Lord, that there is a temptation
special to those who stand at the parapet of your temple,
and that is to become arrogant towards you,
to insist that your angels must hold us up in case we hurt our feet against a stone.
Help us, Lord, in our prayers, to remain perfectly still and trusting,
remembering, like Jesus, how it is said
that we must not put you, our Lord and God, to the test.
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Luke
Introduction to the Celebration
In every area of our lives there are periods of mending, renewing, and refocusing. We talk about ‘spring cleaning’, ‘annual reviews, and ‘in-service training’. Now we enter a period to renew our discipleship prior to celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. So now can we spend some moments considering how God our creator made us and has provided for us. Let us recall that God our saviour has called us to live in a new way and to build a world of justice and peace. Let us remember how God our inspiration offers us strength for our discipleship.
1. Lent has three themes intertwined within it as we celebrate it.
(1) It is a time of preparation for Easter, especially for those who are to be baptised.
(2) It is a time of repentance and reparation for wrongs done to others around us, the larger community, and the creation.
(3) It is a time of stocktaking and renewal in discipleship, the skills needed to be a disciple, and in the commitment to the work and activities of being a Christian.
The homily today could take the form of a ‘checklist’ or examination of conscience on these aspects.
1. Preparing for Easter.
• What plans has the community to make Easter the central moment of the year? We should recall that today in many places this is the time when many people think of going for a , spring break’ and a time when many who are involved in the liturgy during the school-term times are going to be away.
• If people are going away for Easter, how do they view it as their community’s central celebration: will they miss the community, will they be missed?
• What opportunities are going to be provided, and by whom, for preparation and reflection; and do people see this as important?
• Are there candidates preparing for baptism; how is the community involved in this; are there people designated to pray for the candidates?
• Can particular talents be harnessed for all this lenten preparation? if so, what are they and who has them?
2. Repentance and reparation.
• How does the community plan to celebrate reconciliation with God in Christ this Lent?
How will people be helped to experience this reconciliation?
What help do members of the community want to help them overcome bad memories of the confessional?
• Will the community want to celebrate healing during this time?
• What plans have the community to make reparation to poorer peoples across the globe this Lent?
• How will Lenten preparation take concrete forms in working for justice, peace, and reconciliation in our world?
3.Stock-taking of discipleship.
What plans have the community to renew itself in prayer?
What plans are there for fasting or to give physical form to prayer?
What plans have the community for generosity that will enhance the world, aid the poor, and provide resources for building the kingdom of justice, love, and peace?
How will the community support these plans with special liturgies, groups, or inputs form other Christians?
• How can the community’s liturgy be enhanced during this time?
4. Lent and the community
Many clergy think that these are only questions for them, but it is the whole community that needs the time of renewal; and if any lenten activity is to have more support than just ‘the usual suspects,‘ then the whole lenten agenda has to be owned by the community. The community can only own it if it has been offered to them as an option.
3. Sean Goan
Let the reader understand
Lent is a time of repentance, a time to set aside the usual stuff of life in order to take stock of where we are and where we want to go. It is, therefore, no accident that Lent begins with a reflection on Jesus’ time in the desert. In keeping with a central theme of his gospel, Luke says that Jesus was filled with the Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
For Luke, the presence of the Spirit is the evidence that God is with Jesus and that Jesus is from God. It is the Spirit that allows him to recognise the temptations of the devil for what they are, and it is the Spirit that guides him in his rejection of the temptation. This is the same for his disciples; we can only follow Jesus by an awareness of his Spirit within us. All our Lenten endeavours will be just a waste of time and effort if we are not guided by the Holy Spirit in what we do.
The gospel for the first Sunday of Lent is always the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. It is intended to make us think not only about Jesus and his struggle but to help us realise that the history of God’s people from Adam and Eve to the present day involves a similar story. The essence of the temptation of Jesus was the idea that he could go it alone, that he could be entirely self sufficient. Jesus resisted this because he recognised his complete dependence on the Father. He knew that he needed to be nourished by God’s word and that his true destiny lay in his seeking to do his Father’s will. When Satan succeeds in convincing us that we have it in our power to save ourselves then we are on the path to self destruction. Lent is a time for us to humbly take God’s hand and to walk the path of faith and love that leads to Easter.
Donal Neary S.J.
Jesus tempted off course
Jesus was brought out of the ordinary into a place where he was tempted off course with three temptations – to comfort, power, and wealth – three things that can take us over.
Money, power and comfort can lead us astray….when we want wealth, to be no. 1 and prioritise comfort in various ways. ……..
He goes back to the word of God to find strength and insight to fight off evil – to the words he learned at home, and at school.
A big source of energy for us is the word of God. On Ash Wednesday the invitation was to believe the good news. That is where we may find life and strength.
We remain in the Church because of Jesus Christ. The word of God in his gospel remains life-giving and strong. Today’s scripture shows us that temptations happen often to take us off the path. So too does the unexpected, and scandals have happened in many of the national institutions. Church life may leave us down and weak, but the spirit who kept Jesus strong in the desert will do the same for us.
A Lenten thing to do could be to read a bit of the gospel every day. Look up Sacred Space on the web and pray from that. Or Pray-as-you-go. Pray your own favourite gospels. Read the gospel to the children. Hear the word at weekday Mass. We look to the word of God to build us up as God’s children and community and find strength to use all in the service of God and others in love.
Speak your word O Lord, and we shall be the better for it.