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First Sunday of Lent 2021

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Mark 1:12-15 First Sunday of Lent (B)

The Spirit led Jesus into the desert for forty days to be tempted and tested. During Lent we too are led by the Spirit into the mystery of Jesus's time in the desert. By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert (Catechism of the Catholic Church 540). We too, during this holy season, can expect to be tempted and tested.

Mark informs us simply and straightforwardly that in the desert Jesus was "tempted by Satan" (v. 13). The name Satan means "adversary". In the book of Job we are given a vivid picture of Satan in God's heavenly court, along with all the other angels, where he has the role of accuser or prosecutor (see 1:6ff.). The Scriptures identify Satan as the serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve (Gen. 3) and, therefore, as the origin of sin and temptation. What the Scriptures and tradition make clear is that humankind has a mortal enemy who, although a finite being created by God, is in a desperate struggle to overthrow God's reign, usurp his Lordship and lead his creation into darkness and death. On Easter Sunday each of us will recite our baptismal promises and in doing so renew them. Bear this in mind as we move through Lent because, as you will be aware, a renewal of our baptismal promises involves us actively, freely and voluntarily rejecting Satan.

Lent is also a time for us to discover anew and afresh the gospel, the 'Good News’, which Jesus began to proclaim immediately after his time of testing. What is the Good News? The Good News is a message of two parts: the first part is to repent and the second part to believe the gospel. We walk together on this road marked out for us by the Church and take up our call to stand firm and resist the devil knowing that he will flee, and embrace freely and with love the gospel, which is Christ with us and in us, the hope of salvation. 

In these days, therefore, let us add something beyond the wonted measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him, offer God something of his  own free will in the joy of the Holy Spirit." (St Benedict)

Chris

from Bible Alive

Genesis 9:8–15 • Psalm 24(25):4–9 • 1 Peter 3:18–22 • Mark 1:12–15

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Our Father

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Matthew 6:7–15
 
Our Father by Jesus on sunrise
 
We address God as ‘Father’ – as ‘Abba’ in Aramaic.  This was unthinkable, even abhorrent, for a faithful Jew in Jesus’s day.
 
Only Jesus could cross the threshold of divne holiness, for by his cross and resurrection he made purification for our sins and brought us into the Father’s presence.
 
How comforting and consoling are these words from the writer of the Hebrews, in which Christ says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me” (2:13).
 
The Holy Spirit works to stretch and expand our hearts and minds so that they can grasp the amazing truth that we are children of the Father, sons and daughters of the Living God.
 
We who call God ‘Our Father’ because he is Our Father in heaven.  We don’t approach him lightly or nonchalantly or irreverently but in profound wonder that we are privileged to know God, the Creator, as a father who loves and cares for us.
 
”Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry, “Abba Father!"
 
‘When would a mortal dare call God “Father” if our innermost being were not animated by power from on high?’ (St Peter Chrysologus)
 
Chris
 
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