First Sunday of Lent: Temptation Aside, Love Remains

Published February 14, 2016 by Unprodigal Daughter

First Sunday of Lent

love-is-the-beauty-of-the-soul.-Saint-Augustine-

Temptation is a word that we have a deep misunderstanding of in our culture. When we think of temptation, we think of walking past the bakery and smelling chocolate cupcakes, or avoiding another bag of chips to count calories and watch our waistlines.  Temptation is often manifested in our minds as a something to do with bodily pleasures of consumption (food, alcohol). This is a far too simplistic way to look at it. 

For Jesus, it was much more intense than just something that makes us a little pudgy in the middle. Picture everything that has ever tempted you, and not just delicious desserts. Think instead of times when you were tempted by greed, dishonesty, lust, gluttony, power, pride, honor…the list goes on and on for all of us. 

Now imagine experiencing those all at once, for forty days, with nothing else to distract you. No job, no family, no food. A human being would go insane under those conditions. This task would have been extremely difficult for Christ, but he did it anyway, so that he could be ready to begin his ministry, teach us the Gospel, and above all, show us the Father’s Love. Jesus took on his temptation through his total trust in the Father. Our Father gives us unseen gifts, even when pleasures of the material world seem to overcome us. 

Jesus’ humanity is exemplified in the scene where he is tempted by the devil. He is just like us. We experience these temptations everyday. But each day, we cave in a little bit. If we follow the example of our Savior and put total trust in Our Creator, we can get through it, and the reward is greater than anything we have ever known. The reward is Infinite and Unconditional Love. We are never truly deserving of this reward, and the purpose of temptation is to distract us from it. Nevertheless, if we remove all of our distractions and pleasures, Love Remains. For everything that tempts you this Lenten season, remember why you are doing it. You are doing it for Love. 

Opening Prayer

I came to You late, O Beauty so ancient and new. I came to love You late. You were within me and I was outside where I rushed about wildly searching for You like some monster loose in Your beautiful world. You were with me but I was not with You. You called me, You shouted to me, You wrapped me in Your Splendour, You broke past my deafness, You bathed me in Your Light, You sent my blindness reeling. You gave out such a delightful fragrance and I drew it in and came breathing hard after You. I tasted, and it made me hunger and thirst; You touched me, and I burned to know Your Peace.

-St. Augustine of Hippo

Daily Readings

Reading 1 DT 26:4-10

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“The priest shall receive the basket from you
and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God.
Then you shall declare before the Lord, your God,
‘My father was a wandering Aramean
who went down to Egypt with a small household
and lived there as an alien.
But there he became a nation
great, strong, and numerous.
When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us,
imposing hard labor upon us,
we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers,
and he heard our cry
and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
He brought us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and outstretched arm,
with terrifying power, with signs and wonders;
and bringing us into this country,
he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
Therefore, I have now brought you the firstfruits
of the products of the soil
which you, O LORD, have given me.’
And having set them before the Lord, your God,
you shall bow down in his presence.”

____
Responsorial Psalm PS 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (cf. 15b) Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
say to the LORD, “My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

__
No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

__
Upon their hands they shall bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the asp and the viper;
you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

__
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and glorify him.
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

___
Reading 2 ROM 10:8-13

Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart
—that is, the word of faith that we preach—,
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For 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.”

___
Verse Before The Gospel MT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

___
Gospel LK 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered him,
“It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
“I shall give to you all this power and glory;
for it has been handed over to me,
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.”
Then he led him to Jerusalem,
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
and:
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from him for a time.

(readings taken from USCCB.org)

__________________________

Multimedia

Happy Feast Day of St. Valentine! Continuing the theme of LOVE, here are two clips that tell us about St. Valentine!

Additional Activity

Show your love for your family with the following activity:

Lenten Family Mealtime

In addition to “Fish Fridays” designate one evening a week to prepare a meal together. Assign a different dish or task to each family member. Before starting, discuss how each family member is giving to the others—giving time, effort, and care to nourish the entire family to go out and do God’s will. Begin with a prayer of thanks and petition. 

(taken from http://www.loyolapress.com/lent-at-home.htm)

Closing Prayer

Prayer Of Thanks For God’s Amazing Love

Thank You Father that You have made Yourself known to humanity through the Word of God. But forgive us Lord, for we are a rebellious and prideful race and yet You loved us so much that You sent Your only begotten Son to lay down His sinless life as the perfect sacrifice for our sin.. so that by that death and resurrection, all who believe on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.

Thank You that in Your love You chose to communicate with us, by the word, by Your holy apostles and prophets and revealed to us Your glorious plan of salvation, so that whoever believes on the Lord Jesus Christ would not be condemned – but whosoever does not believe in the only begotten Son of God is condemned already – because he has not believed on the sinless Son of Your love – Who loved us so much that He willingly went to the cross to redeem us from the penalty of sin, and reconcile us back to You eternal.

Thank You that Your Word to us is like a perfumed love-letter that has been forwarded from heaven to all Your children – in love. Thank You for the truth it contains and thank You for all Your perfect and unconditional love and grace towards Your children. May we assimilate these truths deep within the bowels of our soul and glorify Your name for the unconditional love that You have seen fit to pour our on all Your children..by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – in Whose name we pray,

Amen

(taken from http://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Prayers-about-the-Love-of-God)

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