Responding to the Mass of the first Sunday of Lent

Jesus displays extraordinary freedom when subjected to temptation.

Many of our brothers and sisters – and quite possibly we ourselves – are not be so free.

Sometimes we deliberately limit our choices by moral corruption.

But very often people find their freedom to choose greatly restricted because of the scourge of addiction. – whether this has its roots in their physiological or psychological state.

Addictions can be to alcohol, to food, to sex, to power… The list is endless, and appalling is the misery these addictions cause the ‘addicts’ themselves and those close to them.

The community of Alcoholics Anonymous – inspired by Christian, especially by Jesuit, spirituality – has done ground-breaking work in helping people learn how to break the bonds of addiction.

Calix is an association of Catholic alcoholics that provides a complementary and supplementary resource for Catholics, to help them make connections between what they receive from A.A. and the faith and practice of the Church. It is a group that deserves to be better known!

Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent: Matthew 4: 1-11

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

The Temptation of Jesus

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16  the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”


Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo: (c) 2018, Allen Morris. The liberating Angel. St-Piere de Montmartre, Paris.

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