Feb. 10: First Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Anonymous Spanish Master, The Temptation of Christ, Hermitage of San Baudelio de Berlanga, Province of Soria, Spain, The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, c. 1125

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

But Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (NRSV, Mt 4:4).’ ”

Let us pray.

Father, as we begin this holy season of Lent, may I follow your Spirit, as the Spirit leads me, as well into the desert that with Jesus, in a confrontation with death, not always recognized as the sister that she is, that I too may come to realize, in this moment, who I am and what it is that you require of me here and now. May this moment also prepare me for coming moments and their demands as I continue my pilgrimage towards you who are my one, final and true Future.

After forty days of fasting, Jesus was hungry and the devil came to him and challenged him to change stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. But Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ”

During this Lenten season, Lord, may I understand more fully what you always teach me: the life that I lead is only apparently a life of this world, a merely physical life. It would seem, like other created beings around me, that my life is determined finally by the laws of this world, that I had a beginning at a certain moment in time, offspring of mother and father; that, interacting with others and things about me, I have grown to maturity; and that I shall eventually go into decline and die.

But, Lord, listening to your Word spoken within me, even from that first moment in my mother’s womb, I have realized that it is not by mother and father that I truly have life but by your Spirit that is given to me. It is through the Word who speaks to me that I receive the Spirit. It is through the Word, then, and not by bread alone, that I truly live and move and have my being. Physical life has been passed on to me by earthly mother and father but my true life, Lord, comes from you through your Word in the Spirit. It is your very life, Lord, that you share with me. It is as Jesus the Word himself made flesh declared: It is by him, by your Word, that I live.

May I, Lord, during this Lent, to nourish myself more fully in your Holy Spirit gifted to me through your Word who always, in every situation, even though I wander, speaks to me.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

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