Thursday, February 27, 2020

First Sunday of Lent. Year A - Sunday, March 1, 2020

Homily First Sunday of Lent. Year A - Sunday, March 1, 2020
 Readings for 1st Sunday of Lent – A
 FIRST READING: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
 PSALM: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14+17. "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned"
 SECOND READING: Romans 5:12-19
 GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (Matthew 4:4b). Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless Glory. No one lives on bread alone. But on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
GOSPEL: Matthew 4:1-11 – Temptation
Image Credit: Shutterstock Licensed ID: 778363450 "Mount of Temptation next to Jericho - a place where Jesus was tempted" - By  Sopotnicki
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the First Sunday of Lent. Year A - Sunday, March 1, 2020, by clicking this link here:   (EPISODE: 209)
Prologue:  Our Lenten journey has well and truly begun.  It is a wonderful time of extra prayer,  reflection and penance - in order to re-focus our sights upon Christ and his gospel. this weekend we hear of the temptation of Our Lord in the desert.  I had always seen this time as a preparation for Christ's public ministry - and in a sense that perfectly true. But it's more than that.  It turns out that this is his first and definitive battle (and victory),  in God's war against the derailing effects of temptation, (to ignore the Fathers will in a distorted and self-justified attempt to follow our own will). This has wracked the human condition since the beginning. In the desert, Christ strikes the first blow against humanity's alienation from God.  This is faith,  hope and love. 
Our Lord wastes no time going straight to work of achieving his Heavenly Father's mission.  Jesus is God made human,  the new Adam.  and he quickly sets about reversing the failures to temptation that has been around since from the beginnings of humanity and which we still face today.  

Although Jesus is God he is also completely human like us,  so in his humanity, he faces temptation and defeats it.  

We can see this forty days in the desert as a massive battle between for forces of the Gods Kingdom and the forces of evil.  Our Lord shows us how to take on temptation and not succumb to its distortion of the truth.  

 Our Lord uses prayer,  fasting and intense focus on the will of the Father to cut through the lies of the evil one. 

We notice too that Satan turns up to assail him near the end of his forty days.  Our Lord would have been tired,  extremely hungry and at his physical and emotional weakest.  and this is when Satan begins his cowardly attacks. It's good to keep in mind - we are often attacked by temptation when we are at our lowest and most vulnerable. The powers and values that oppose the kingdom of heaven do not fight fair, but we must be prepared. 

What is also fascinating is God turns even a malicious temptation by the enemy as a means to strengthen and reinforce the steely resolve of his faithful ones.  Jesus was tried and passed through the trial with flying colours. where Adam and his ancestors failed,  Jesus succeeded and schools us in how to deal with temptation ourselves.  

We learn that temptation is deceitful.  it often comes in the form of taking a good thing and luring us to use a good motive or a good thing for a bad or excessive reason. 
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 New International Version (NIV). God never lets us face more than we can handle and gives us the help to escape its clutches.  
there are two areas of temptation
  •  temptations to people in leadership positions 
personal temptation.

First satan appeal to Our Lord as a leader.  
  • the temptation to show, to prove and to be 'relevant' to an audience.
  • Tempted to be popular and spectacular.
  • The temptation to use "power" over others.

and see how Jesus counters it:
 "temptation to be relevant" and prove oneself, is countered by prayer and discernment of The Father's will. 

temptation to be spectacular to convince.  v. obedience and humility.

temptation to power v. vulnerability and trust in God's providence and grace being sufficient. 

Temptations in our personal needs- 

  • actions to meet our physical needs. Not trusting that our true needs will be given us without recourse to the extreme and the controlling. 
  • Confirm/test god's will and love.  presume on it. when we already have been shown Gods love and care in so many ways.  Our Lord knew he had been very powerfully affirmed and commissioned,  to test that or to ask for more confirmation would have been mere self-indulgence.  
  • Pride and power.

  • Devil wants to trick us to think –
  • God has abandoned us
  • And that we can handle temptation on our own.

But,  Our Lord shows us that the real question we need to focus upon ;
  •  "Is this what God the Father wants for me?   Can I do this thing and truly love God and delight in God…."   ?? 
  • Is this choice putting God as the source and destination of our delight and our goals. 

It's very telling that after this extreme tussle in the wilderness - Christ commands satan to be off and he goes.  Jesus has succeeded in fending off the prideful and misleading lies of the tempter and afterwards, we are told Angels come to tend to him and give him what he needs.  

There is more than a sense that his army come to support him in this first of many victories and give him what he needs which he KNEW would be provided by his Father and not from rash acts of wilfulness, force or pride. 
Fr Paul W. Kelly

From  Wilkins, M. (2004). Matthew : NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan. E-edition. November 2014. Around p 153-164.

Image Credit: Shutterstock Licensed ID: 778363450
"Mount of Temptation next to Jericho - The place where Jesus was tempted" - By  Sopotnicki
First Sunday of Lent. Year A
(Sunday, March 1, 2020)

(EPISODE: 209)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

{{May Our Lord's empathy abide in you.}}

 As we begin the Holy Eucharist, let us acknowledge our sinfulness, so as to worthily celebrate the sacred mysteries.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

1. We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.


Sunday Lent I

Eucharistic Prayer II

Communion side.  PWK:  RH

{I gratefully acknowledge and give thanks to God for your prayers at this time of prayer and reflection upon our God. }

Go in peace. (glorifying the Lord by your life)

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Further information relating to the audio productions linked to this Blog:
"Faith, Hope and Love - Christian worship and reflection"  - Led by Rev Paul Kelly
 Prayers and chants  — Roman Missal, 3rd edition, © 2010, The International Commission on English in the liturgy. (ICEL)
 Scriptures - New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  and 2009 by the NCC-USA. (National Council of Churches of Christ - USA)
 "The Psalms" ©1963, 2009,  The Grail - Collins publishers. 
 Prayers of the Faithful -   " Together we pray" by Robert Borg'.   E.J. Dwyer, Publishers, (1993) . (Sydney Australia).
 Lenten Hymn: "Have Mercy"  inspired by Psalm 50(51). Music by Paul W. Kelly. Arranged and sung, with additional lyrics by Stefan Kelk. 2019. 
 [ Production -  KER -  2020] 
 May God bless and keep you

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