Skip to main content

1st Sunday of Lent 2014

Lent is a time to reflect… to see where we have been, determine where we are, and chart our course ahead.  Similarly, our readings for this Lenten cycle also show us where we have been as a people, help us to see where we are, and show us the road we as Church should follow.  We call this walk through the scriptures the “history of our salvation, ” and throughout this season of Lent, we will be listening to stories from some of the most pivotal moments of our history as a people of God.

The Word for the 1st Sunday of Lent
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
Romans 5:12-19
Mathew 4:1-11

Most appropriately, we begin our journey at the very beginning… with our first reading from the Book of Genesis and  the story of “mans fall from grace.”  This is the same “necessary sin of Adam” we sing about during the Easter Vigil’s Exultet.

In our passage from Genesis this week we witness God’s creation of man and the creation of the garden.  From there our text jumps to the story of the woman’s encounter with the snake.  It is a story that many of us are familiar with, but it is always interesting to revisit the original text.  One thing we notice is that the man and woman are not yet mentioned by name.  This is because at this point in the narrative they don’t have proper names.  The word “adam” comes from the generic Hebrew word for “man” or “mankind”.  The word “ground” in Hebrew is “adama”… so the play on words between man coming from the ground is something we lose in the English translation.  The woman doesn’t get her name of “Eve” until Adam give it to her toward the end of Chapter 3.

But more to the point… while all this is very interesting, and we could spend a considerable amount of time reviewing the deeper theological implications of the story, we don’t want to lose sight of our take-away from this story for this week.  Simply this is where the history of salvation begins… with the recognition of the fact that through our own free will, we lost paradise, and only through that free will can we embrace God again (as referenced through the Psalm)

This theme is carried through in our second reading in Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Here Paul outlines the story of salvation and the entire purpose of our ministry, first by recalling Adam’s sin, but how it is through Christ that we are redeemed.  This is also an example Paul’s sometimes very convoluted writing style, spanning some 30 lines within only 4 sentences, so take the reading slowly and go through it several times so you can better see his point.

We close with our Gospel from Matthew and another “beginning” story - the beginning of Jesus ministry as marked by his temptation in the desert. At this point in the narrative Jesus has just been baptized by John, and is now compelled by the Spirit to go out into the desert where he spends forty days and nights in contemplation.  It is also during this time he is tempted by the Devil.  As we hear the narrative unfold, it is interesting to note the wordplay between the Devil and Jesus, and how both of them use Scripture to justify their arguments.  Remember, Matthew is speaking to a primarily Jewish audience, so the verses they are quoting are well known to them.  Also for Matthew this is an opportunity to remind us of the epic nature of this battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.  Jesus is not just another prophet, he is the chosen one, the Son of God, the champion of the forces of light.

So as we begin our journey through Lent we are reminded that we should pay close attention to the scriptures, for by showing us these key moments of our Salvation History, we see where we’ve been as a people, see where we are now, and if we are listening carefully, showing us both individually and as Church, were we need to go.

Catholic Update:  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…

4th Sunday of Lent

This Sunday we continue our Lenten journey through Salvation History with a continued focus on covenant.  We’ve already given witness to the covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  This week we turn our attention to the Davidic Covenant (the covenant with King David), or more accurately, the covenant with the monarchy of Israel.


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21

Our first reading comes from the end of the 2nd book of Chronicles.  Though our intent this Sunday is to remember the Davidic Covenant, our Lectionary has chosen an interesting approach.  Rather than give us a story about King David, we are presented with a story  from the end of the Babylonian Exile.  Why approach the covenant with David from this tail-end view? 

It’s an approach that actually fits very well with the Book of Chronicles, for you see, the Book of Chronicles is much more than a retelling of the story we heard in books …

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…