For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/031019.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the First Sunday of the season of Lent; and every year on the First Sunday of Lent we read an account of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This year we read from the Gospel of Luke. In Luke’s Gospel, the temptation occurs after the infancy narratives and just before the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The three temptations Jesus faces are the temptation to turn a stone into bread; the temptation to accept power and glory; and the temptation to test God.
Luke’s account of the temptations varies in three subtle, but significant ways from the accounts of Matthew and Mark. First, Mark’s account of the temptation merely notes that it occurred. He does not include any details of the temptations. Second, in both Matthew and Mark at the end of the temptations we are told that angels came and waited on Jesus. These angels are not mentioned in Luke. Third, it is only in Luke’s Gospel that at the end of the temptations, we are told that “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” This seems to indicate that Jesus --- like us --- would face other temptations in his life.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy. The context is the Jewish harvest festival. It recounts the “ritual” the Jewish people were to follow at harvest time to help them remember their salvation history. This ritual --- like our ritual of the Eucharist --- made it clear that remembering God’s work and ways is vital to salvation.
Our second reading today is taken from the Letter to the Romans. It reminds us that “there is no 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:
- While we are not likely to face temptations on the scale that Jesus did, we all face temptations in our lives. What helps you resist temptation in you life?
- As mentioned above, Luke ends his account of the temptation with the ominous statement: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” How do you deal with reoccurring temptations in your life?
- Have you ever made “distinctions” between Christians, or between Christians and other religions?