First Sunday in Lent, Year A
Today’s gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. His forty-day fast becomes the basis of our Lenten pilgrimage. In the early church Lent was a time of intense preparation for those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. This catechetical focus on the meaning of faith is at the heart of our Lenten journey to the baptismal waters of Easter. Hungry for God’s mercy, we receive the bread of life to nourish us for the days ahead.
First Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Human beings were formed with great care, to be in relationship with the creator, creation, and one another. The serpent’s promise to the first couple that their eyes would be opened led, ironically, to the discovery only that they were naked.
15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ ” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Psalm: Psalm 32
Mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord. (Ps. 32:10)
1Happy are they whose transgressions | are forgiven,
and whose sin is | put away!
2Happy are they to whom the Lord im- | putes no guilt,
and in whose spirit there | is no guile!
3While I held my tongue, my bones with- | ered away,
because of my groaning | all day long.
4For your hand was heavy upon me | day and night;
my moisture was dried up as in the | heat of summer. R
5Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not con- | ceal my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” Then you forgave me the guilt | of my sin.
6Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in | time of trouble;
when the great waters overflow, they | shall not reach them.
7You are my hiding-place; you preserve | me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts | of deliverance.
8“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that | you should go;
I will guide you | with my eye. R
9Do not be like horse or mule, which have no | understanding;
who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else they will | not stay near you.”
10Great are the tribulations | of the wicked;
but mercy embraces those who trust | in the Lord.
11Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice | in the Lord;
shout for joy, all who are | true of heart. R
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
Through Adam’s disobedience, humanity came under bondage to sin and death, from which we cannot free ourselves. In Christ’s obedient death, God graciously showers on us the free gift of liberation and life.
12Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus experiences anew the temptations that Israel faced in the wilderness. As the Son of God, he endures the testing of the evil one.
1Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying 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,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
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