1 March: First Sunday of Lent. Readings: 1. Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Psalm: 51; 2. Romans 5:12-19; Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11.
How we deal with temptation, while living the life of faith, is the base theme for today’s Scriptures.
The Genesis reading relates the foundational story of human disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The curious encounter with the talking snake explores the choice we all have to make -whether to follow what God has commanded or be lured into pursuing a seemingly more satisfying end. Having chosen badly, the human couple immediately recognise their error and acquire unanticipated knowledge about themselves and their future. So, at the heart of this episode is a lesson to be learned about straying off track and not noting the good God wills for us all.
In Romans, Paul’s thoughts draw upon the Genesis incident. As heirs to the first human couple’s disobedience, Paul turns our sights to the wonder of what has been achieved because of the human Jesus. In and through his death, our glorious transformation has been made possible. This new and eternal life is reckoned to be a great grace, a totally free gift, given so that we may become strong, obedient advocates for all that is right and good.
Matthew’s description of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness helps us appreciate how God speaks to us through his Son. For, in dialogue with the devil, Jesus indicates how to rise above human aspirations. Accompanied first by the Holy Spirit and then by the angels, Jesus models for us the life of God’s Kingdom as it is revealed in the Scriptures. The mighty moment in the wilderness serves to inspire us to follow the Lord and not let temptations distract us from that.
These readings are an invitation to let this Lent be a season of grace and insight that stirs in us the desire to hear the Word well and act upon it faithfully.