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1st Sunday of Lent

February March 5, 2017

 

~ Out Of The Desert ~

 

 

 

Reading 1

Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7

 

The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

 

Ps 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17

Responsorial Psalm

 

R. (cf. 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R, Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R, Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R, Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R, Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

 

Rom 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19

Reading 2

 

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.

 

Mt 4:1-11

Gospel

 

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
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 with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.

 

 

 

Many people have asked me “What exactly is this Lent thing and why do some faith expressions take it so seriously?”  That’s a very good question.  I hope I can answer it so that it will make more sense to you.  First of, Lent is not a thing, not a movement, not a practice, not a process, and not limited to only certain faiths.  Lent is the story of Jesus and us, the story of the beginning of his ministry until his death on the cross and his glorious resurrection, and we are invited to go that journey with him.  So really then, Lent is an invitation to get to know our Lord and Savior intimately.  To walk with him the journey of our salvation as he had to do it for our sake, for our sinfulness, and most particular to restore for us, the gift of eternal life that was nullified by the sin of Adam and Eve. 

When we have dared to walk with our sweet Jesus as was his journey and have lived even a bit of it, then our own faith will grow in leaps and bounds.  This is a time that we come to deny ourselves, to repent, to get beyond all that holds us down, and to fully understand that, indeed, as Jesus says himself, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel,” and immerse ourselves into his mission, for our sake, not his.  So, I invite you to come with me by accepting the invitation.  Starting this week and all the weeks to come until long after Easter, the scripture readings that I will share, will allow us all to follow that invitation.  If you are a non-believer and would like to know Jesus more, this is the time for you to start, to come to know.  Lovingly, you are invited to journey with us.  Let us start with the readings for this week.

 

Gospel
Mk 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."
 

 

Homily/Sermon

 

Jesus must have sat down often to consider the state of the nation.  He must have worried often about the leadership he saw around him.  He must have talked often about the temple and its services.  He must have done all that very often, since he was like us in all things but sin.

 

Doing this, we compare the world in which we live with the vision of a world to come.  Speaking about injustice, we know about justice.  Complaining about dishonesty, we imply honesty.  Worrying bout the wars throughout the Middle East, terrorists and violence throughout the world, we perhaps dream about peace.  Protesting discrimination and violence, we suggest a more livable world.  We do all of this, do we not?  We are charged with a vision; we are all full of hope.  But, sometimes, we don’t move.  We see as if blind.  We hear as if deaf.  We move as if paralyzed.

 

So did Jesus, up to the moment he entered that desert for those forty long, very long, days.  Full of Spirit, he was challenging his spirit.  Full of vision, he was facing his blindness.  His ears ringing with the message, he was fighting his deafness.  Asked to move, he had to overcome his lameness.  Matthew says he was tempted, nagged, pestered, shocked, and shaken, fighting with all that held him back, struggling with everything that kept him small restricted, paralyzed, and fruitless, fighting the devil himself, that tempter, Satan, yet not succumbing to that evil pest, but overcoming all his evil endeavors.

 

He was going to ask us to do the same.  He was going to invite us to follow him.  He was going to show us what we would be able to do.  But, before turning to us, before inviting others, he first fought and overcame the indolence and immobility he wants us to overcome.

 

The world has changed over the past sixteen years; our country has drastically changed over the past several years, and the vast majority of folks are not so pleased with those changes my friends.  Who would have ever thought that the issues facing our country these days would be about defunding Planned Parenthood, who advocates with pride, the taking of another human life, through abortion, which is murder?  Which is a slap in the face to God our creator, the only author of human life, and to do that vicious act on demand, and be boasting about it.  Why wouldn't God not be angry?

 

Who would have ever thought that one of the most controversial issues of the day would be about homosexuality?  We should know very well what happened in the old testament when that was an issue.  Who would have ever thought that a government would become so morally decayed that it would turn the table around as to what was right and wrong;  that what use to be wrong is not right, and what use to be right in now wrong?  With the change of leadership in the Whit House, perhaps, there is some hope. 

We can no longer just complain about others, forgetting about ourselves.  We can no longer think that the world will change and our vision will be fulfilled without ourselves being changed and moved. 

 

That is what Jesus learned in the desert, and that is why he came out of it – himself changed – to shout to us:  “The time is ripe, the days are fulfilled.  I overcame what holds you down.  I could do it, you can do it.  Forgive, repent, change, and believe this good news!  And it might do well for us to add, "to start living out that good news, if we haven't already, because of the possible uncertainty that we will be able to continue to profess it, less it is said to be offensive to some others.  Out of the desert Jesus came, not knowing what he might face, but he came prepared to change this world for the better, to offer a new kind of journey, a new possibility, a new hope.  We who are Christians should hold on tightly to that hope my friends.  There are those would like to deny it to us.

 

 

Amid all that is going on in the world, and in our country today, we might be inclined to just give up the journey, to throw in the towel, to call it quits, to relinquish ourselves to the conquest of evil.  Or we might, despite all of that, hold close to hem of Jesus' garment as he comes out of that desert, that we too might come out of the desert.  For my friends, in end, Jesus is in control.  Remember, He is our Saviour, He is quest, and is our HOPE, and He is the VICTOR!

 

Wishing you all a most wonderful week ahead. 

 

© Deacon Steve A. Politte

March 4, 2017

 

 

 

 God Will Make A Way By Don Moen

 

 

 

 

 

 



I Climbed That Hill

 

I climbed that hill of Calvary,
I wanted as close to the cross as I could be.
Jesus knew I was coming before I even got there,
Bringing all of my sorrows and troubles, and cares.
I was on my way I needed Him so much,
At the foot of the cross I felt His loving touch.
Finally I could lay all my burdens down,
As I fell to my knees on Gods sacred ground.
I looked up and the cross still stood tall and strong,
Stained with blood for my sins and all I had done wrong.
As my heart beat faster I could hardly believe,
That Jesus suffered for me on this hill called Calvary.
So much peace and love filled my soul,
On that hill where the greatest story was ever told.
Tears started to fall and all I could do was cry,
As I clung to the cross I knew I’d never say goodbye.
I climbed that hill one step at a time,
As Jesus whispered I love you and you will always be mine.

Written By Eva Dimel
Inspired By God
February 15th 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

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