Thoughts on the Readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021416.cfm 

This weekend we celebrate the First Sunday of the season of Lent.  Each year on the First Sunday of Lent we read one of the Gospel accounts of the temptation of Christ in the desert; and since this year we are in cycle “C” in our three year cycle of readings, we read from the Gospel of Luke.   

In our Gospel today we are told that Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the desert for forty day, to be tempted by the devil.”    The devil then tempted Jesus to turn stones to bread, to accept worldly power and glory, and to test the Father’s love for him.  Interestingly, the devil prefaced two of the temptations with the words:  “If you are the Son of God……”   We are then told that “When the devil had finished every temptation he departed from him for a time.” 

I would note three things in this Gospel.  1.  Jesus encountered temptations, just as we do.   2.  The temptations that Jesus faced differ from the temptations we face in degree not kind or type.    We all face the temptations to take care of our own needs, to trust in our own power, and to wonder about God’s love for us.  3.  We are told that the devil departed from Jesus “for a time.”   Temptations are not overcome once for all.   They continue to reoccur in our lives --- perhaps in different forms or guises, but no less real.  

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy. In the section we read today, Moses reminded the people how they were to profess their faith in all that God had done for them.  They were then to offer “the first fruits of the product of the soil” in thanksgiving to God.     

Our second reading this Sunday is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.   In the section we read today, Paul reminds us that “there is not distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him.  For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What helps you resist temptation in your life?
  2. Are there some temptations that reoccur in different guises in your life?
  3. If, as Paul said, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” why do some people want to limit salvation to a chosen few?   
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