1st Sunday of Lent Year B. Helpful hints with the Sunday Readings, a Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson,C.P.,a realhomilie, Family Intercessions and Blessing, Ongoing Scriptural Formation Courses. Fr.Kevin Walsh Posting Number 56.

23 Feb



I apologise for not having our Deep Sea Diving segment into God’s Word today…..I have just run out of time. Sorry. Also, if you subscribe to this Blog, it sometimes might come to you in what I call a very unordered presentation.  I am working on that, but my suggestion is just let the email be a reminder, and then just log onto the website.

Cheers, Fr.Kev



Helpful hints

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.


Genesis 9:8-15

New International Version (NIV)

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

Psalm 25:4-9

New International Version (NIV)

4 Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, LORD, are good.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.

1 Peter 3:18

New International Version (NIV)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Mark 1:12-15

New International Version (NIV)

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[a] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

                                                     Journeying to Easter – by Brian Gleeson CP

Dr Brian Gleeson, a Passionist priest, lectures in systematic theology at the Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne. He recently stepped down as the Head of the Department of Church History and Systematic Theology at YTU. He joined the faculty at the beginning of 2001. His previous appointments were at Catholic Theological College Adelaide (2 years); St Paul’s National Seminary Sydney (13 years); Catholic Theological Union Sydney (8 years); Pius XII Regional Seminary, Brisbane (1 year); and Good Samaritan Teachers’ College, Sydney (4 years). His postgraduate studies were with the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; the Gregorian University, Rome; and the Melbourne College of Divinity. Fr Gleeson is also an active member of ACTA (Australian Catholic Theologians’ Association).


A fruiterer was watching a boy standing in front of his fruit stall and gazing for ages at all the beautiful fruit on display. After a while he could restrain himself no longer. ‘What are you trying to do, young man,’ he asked, ‘steal my apples?‘No sir,’ said the boy, ‘I’m trying not to.’ That little story says that the child had come to understand that he was not a puppet on a string, but faced a choice: Will I do the right thing or the wrong thing? It’s also a reminder of just how real temptations of all kinds can be, and just what a tension and struggle it can be to resist temptation. Jesus too, as Mark stresses today, was ‘tempted’ (1:13). But in saying that ‘he shared our human nature in all things but sin’, our Fourth Eucharistic Prayer implies that despite the inclinations, urges and pressures of temptation, Jesus never gave in. Matthew and Luke, in their versions of how Jesus was tempted in the desert, tell us the secret of his success. He read the scriptures, he reflected on the scriptures, and he prayed the scriptures.

So throughout these days of Lent, if we also take God’s word to heart as Jesus did, by reading, reflecting on and praying the Word of God ‘with the joy of minds made pure’ (Preface I of Lent), we may be absolutely sure that ‘this will be a sacred time for the renewing and purifying of [our] hearts’ (Preface II of Lent).




Dear One and All,

Well Lent is with us once again…….it comes around quickly, doesn’t it? And once again we often say to ourselves and to others…time flies!  I’ve noticed like you that Coles and Woolies ( Woolworths for our overseas friends) have had Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies for Sale for the last few weeks. Baker’s Delight here in Australia have beautiful Hot Cross Buns for Sale already, and we are not even near Good Friday.  Once again, we see that the commercial world is more interested in making money, as it uses the Religious significance for its own ends.

In the Southern Hemisphere, we are getting close to autumn, even though many of us say in Eastern Australia, that we have not really had a Summer. However, for our sisters and brother in the Northern Hemisphere, they may be thinking ‘When will Winter end?’ However, Lent is that time of the year in the North when the Light on the Advent Wreath are really suggesting that the days are getting shorter.  However with the variance of Climate, lets just get down to the meaning of Lent!

In short Lent can be looked upon as a ‘Training time’…a toning up time for our spiritual life. We see enough Sport on Television, Sky Channel, and Foxtel all year round, but behind all of that is solid training by the athletes. As the old saying goes, “the prize cannot be won without effort!” Actually, I don’t know who made up that phrase, but all I know is that the Marist Brothers who taught me at school used to often say that.

So, looking at the Readings for this weekend, we see the first Reading from the Book of Genesis, that our God’s strength and protection is symbolised in the giant bow within the rainbow. However, there is a response that is required from God’s people as a result of the Covenant with Noah……and this is summed up in the Antiphon if the responsorial psalm….’Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.’

So Lent can be seen as a time of renewal…both personal and communitarian. Let’s look at the Lenten Invitation in Mark’s Gospel for this weekend…..’The time has come’, he said,’ and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the Good news.’ Here we have a mega clue as to what to do, and what to become, during Lent. Repent comes from a Greek word, metanoia which means change…not just on the outside but to change all the way through. One way of visualising this is to ask you to stand on your hands, right now! In doing that, we would see the world differently. I think if I were to stand on my hands right now, I’d be rushed off to Hospital! But, I think that you get my drift. So, let’s go back to the scripture quote….Repent and what? Believe the Good News. Believe in this case is not just some academic approach, but to BE ‘Good News’. I’ll come back to this before I sign off…..

Many years ago when I was stationed at St.Brigid’s Passionist Parish in Sydney, I drove the car to the local shopping centre, and as I look back, I know that I should have walked….but I was in a hurry. I committed a terrible sin…..I parked in a loading zone! I justified that by saying to myself, ‘ well it is Saturday, who would be LOADING OR UNLOADING TODAY?  I went off to the Newsagent, got what I wanted, and made for the car. Now there was an intersection with traffic lights and of course it was showing RED….No walking!   Just then a couple of well meaning Preaching Christians, must have caught sight of the Gold Cross on my shirt, and said in a loud voice so that all of Sydney could hear, ‘ Brother, have you been saved by Jesus?’ At that very moment I spotted a Parking Policeman making his way to my car to obviously write a ticket…with that I replied to these two guys, ‘ The short answer is YES! But at the moment I need to be saved from that parking Policeman over there….’ They smiled and understood. So here we have another clue as to what we should be working on in Lent; namely freeing up time in us to trawl through our personal story to spot those moments when we have experienced being SAVED! Or more simply, and to the point, experiencing the saving hand of God in our daily life.

Now let’s get down to tin tacks, as we often say in Australia; how and what to do during Lent? I stated above that Lent can be looked upon as a ‘Spiritual training time’….toning up our spiritual life. We are only going to do that if we really want to. Honest training is often hard, demanding and sometimes boring, but the end result can only happen with concerted effort and discipline. It can be helpful to be involved in your Parish Lenten Programme because you are doing it in a group, and one of the spin offs is the deepening and building of community. Also, in going it alone, there is more chance of giving up or giving in. Why not do it as a family? Perhaps the quotes from Scripture and reflective questions might be a start.

Next week, I will write an Essay on …..Seeing the saving hand of God at work in my life.

MARK:     1:35-38

Jesus quietly leaves Capernaum and travels through Galilee.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.   Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Every­body is looking for you’.   He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’

1) Quiet moments of prayer were important to Jesus. When do I feel the need to pray?

MATT:     7: 1 – 5

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given.   Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?   How dare you say to your brother,  “Let me take the splinter out of your eye”, when all the time there is a plank in your own?   Hypocrite.’   Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

2) Jesus didn’t judge others, he accepted people as they were.   To copy his example, what attitudes towards my family and friends do I need to change?

MATT:     9:10-13

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’   When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.   Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.   And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

3) Jesus mixed with socially unacceptable people – the poor, the dull, and the sinners.  What type of people do I make friends and associate with?

MATT:     19: 16-22

And there was a man who came to him and asked,  ‘Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?’   Jesus said to him,  ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?   There is one alone who is good.   But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’   He said,  ‘Which?’ ‘These: ‘Jesus replied ‘you must not kill.  You must not commit adultery. You must not bring false witness.  Honour your father and mother, and: you must love your neighbour as yourself.’   The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these.   What more do I need to do?’   Jesus said,  ‘if you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor), and you will have treasure in heaven: then come, follow me’.   But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

4) The young man’s self interest became a barrier to his complete following of  Jesus.  If I were that young man, what barriers would Jesus find in me?

MATT:  16:24-25

The Jesus said to his disciples,  ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

5)What crosses are most difficult for me to carry?

LUKE:  17:4

‘If your brother or sister does something wrong, reprove them and, if they are sorry, forgive them.   And if they wrong you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, “I am sorry”, you must forgive them.’

6) Jesus taught that we must always forgive.  Are some things more important to me than this constant forgiveness of others, such as pride, impatience, pettiness?   If so, what are they?

MATT:     18: 12-14

‘Tell me.   Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays:  will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray?   I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all.   Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

7) Jesus tell us that no matter how far we move away from him, he always wants us back. In saying this to me, what does he want me to learn?

Mahatma Gandhi once said:  “There would be more Christians in the world if you Christians were a bit more like your Christ.”

8) What things within me need changing for me to be more like Jesus?

I contribute to the web of sin in our community by………..and I ask God and my family to forgive me…LORD HAVE MERCY. LORD HAVE MERCY

The Prophet Micah says in Chapter 6, verse 8:

‘What is good has been explained to you man; this is what Yahweh asks of you:

Only this, to act justly, to love tenderly,

and to walk humbly with your God.’

9) Taking this Word from our God, speaking through His spokesperson, Micah; what resolutions are you going to make for future living out of this word in your own life?

That might be enough for tonight, there will be more next week.

Sincerely in Christ Crucified,



INTERCESSIONS                          First Sunday in Lent B

Leader: We come before our loving God to express our needs for all God’s people, for ourselves and for the world.

1.               We pray for God’s people everywhere, and especially for all the members of our parish family that, with God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts, true justice and reconciliation may be achieved. Lord, hear us!        Response: Lord, hear our prayer.

2.               We pray that we may discover Jesus’ commitment to justice in our living of the Gospel.  Lord, hear us!
3.               We pray for the poor of the world whose thirst for water and hunger for food pleads for our compassion. Help us to respond to Project Compassion as best we can. Lord, hear us!

4.               We pray that the Jubilee call to Fallowness may call us all to a greater care for the earth and the future of the peoples of the world.  Lord, hear us.

5                We pray for all our sick and elderly people, and for all those who look after them in our town. Lord, hear us!

6.               Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.


Leader:   Loving God, you created us for good and for greatness. May we remember and give thanks for all your blessings to us. Help us to use all our gifts wisely. We make all our prayers to you through Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Blessing……..

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.


Leader:          The Cross


The bread……………


The pain


The joy………………


The Gospel……………


The love…………


The light……………


The darkness…………….

ALL          WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.


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