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Old Calendar: First Sunday of Lent
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘ Man shall not live by bread alone.’" And the devil took him up. and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘ You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ "
The feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius
, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.Stational Church Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The first reading is from Deuteronomy 26: 4-10. In these verses we have the ritual prescribed by Moses for the feast of the harvest thanksgiving. The people once settled in the Promised Land are to show their gratitude to the good God who brought them out of the slavery of Egypt and gave them this good land to be their home.
The second reading
is from St. Paul to the Romans 10: 8-13. He is discussing the sad fact that Israel (as a whole) rejected Christ as the promised Messiah and the Son of God.The Gospel
is from St. Luke 5:1-11. Christ's voluntary self-mortification of forty days' fast, with its accompanying temptations, was but part of the self-mortification, with its climax on the Cross, which He gladly underwent for our salvation. He did not need to fast in order to keep the inclinations of the body in subjection, He did not need to allow the insult of temptation. He could have said, "begone Satan" at the beginning as easily and as effectively as be said it at the end. But He willingly underwent this humiliation in order to set us an example and to prove to us the infinite love He bears us and the value, the priceless value, He sets on our eternal salvation. He became like us in all things (except sin) in order to make it possible for us to become like Him—the beloved of his Father—and co-heirs with Him in the kingdom of heaven.
With this example given us by Christ no Christian can or should expect to travel the road to heaven without meeting obstacles and temptations. Our weak human nature is of itself, even without any external tempter, a source of many temptations to us, especially of those three illustrated in the case of Christ. Our body desires all the pleasures and comforts that can be got out of life and resents any curtailment of these desires even on the part of our Creator and Benefactor. Our gifts of intelligence and free-will often tempt most of us to look for power, political or economic, over our fellowmen. We want to be better off than others in this world, when our purpose in life is to help ourselves and our fellowmen to the better life. Finally. so fully occupied are many in the mad rush after pleasure and power that they have no time to devote to the one thing that matters, the attainment of eternal life.
Yet, through some foolish logic of our own, we expect God to do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves. We are tempting God by presuming he will save us if we have deliberately chosen the road to perdition.
There are few, if any, amongst us who can honestly say: "I am free from such inclinations or temptations." The vast majority of us can and should beat our breasts and say with the publican: "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." And merciful he will be if we turn to him with true humility. He may not remove all our temptations, all our wrong inclinations, but he will give us the grace to overcome them if we sincerely seek his aid.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings
by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
The Station today is at St. John Lateran. The Lateran is comprised of the Basilica, the Pontifical Palace and the Baptistry. The church is dedicated to the Christ the Savior. In the fifth century the titles of St. John Baptist and St. John the Evangelist were added. The Papal altar contains the wooden altar on which St. Peter is said to have celebrated Mass. This basilica is the mother of all churches and is the only church which has the title of Archbasilica.
Commentary for the Readings in the Extraordinary Form:
First Sunday of Lent
"Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Gospel).
1. In this picture the devil points to the bread of fleshly
desire. "Now is the acceptable time" to "ration" our self-indulgence, our worship of physical culture (Epistle), and to feed our souls with the Divine Word. This temptation calls for the mortification of self.
2. The "pinnacle of the temple" (in the upper left corner), recalls the pride
of usurping God's power
, of trying to live beyond His reach. We must topple ourselves from the pinnacle of pride
and lift ourselves up by prayer to the pinnacle of God Himself.
3. The "kingdoms of the world," seen in the distance (in middle of picture), represent those who covet mere earthly "glory." To offset this temptation there must be almsgiving or devoting one's talents to the service of one's neighbor.
The Epistle exhorts us not to receive "in vain" this plan of personal reformation, first by warning, then by encouraging us in the eternal struggle between Christ and Antichrist.
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal
, Confraternity of the Precious Blood