Newsletter – First Sunday of Lent A – 26th February 2023
Our First Reading today is from the book of Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7: Eve and Adam eat from the tree that was forbidden to them by God.
The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 51. A prayer for mercy.
The Second Reading is taken from Romans 5:12-19: Through the obedience of
Jesus, many will be made righteous.
The Gospel Reading this Sunday is from Matthew 4:1-11: Jesus fasts for 40 days in the desert and is tempted by the devil.
In each of the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke), after Jesus’ baptism by John, Jesus went to the desert to fast and pray for 40 days. In each case, while in the desert, Jesus is tempted by the devil.
In Matthew, as in Luke, the devil presents three temptations to Jesus. The devil tempts Jesus to use his power to appease his hunger; he tempts Jesus to put God’s promise of protection to the test; and he offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will worship the devil. In each case, Jesus resists the temptation, rebuking the devil with words from Scripture.
The account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is filled with allusions and parallels to the Old Testament, including the story of the people of Israel. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert in Exodus, for example, and Jesus spends 40 days in the desert. As the Israelites were tempted during the Exodus, so too is Jesus tempted.
Each temptation offers insight into both God and the human condition. Jesus’ rejection of the temptations shows that he will not put God to the test. Grounding himself on the word and authority of Scripture, Jesus rebukes the devil, confident in God’s protection and faithfulness.
As we start our journey through Lent, our Sunday readings call us to adopt the same confidence that Jesus had in the face of temptation: God’s word alone will suffice; God’s promise of protection can be trusted; God alone is God.