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THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
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.
A reading from the book of Deuteronomy
Moses said to the people: ‘The priest shall take the pannier from your hand and lay it before the altar of the Lord your God. Then, in the sight of the Lord your God, you must make this pronouncement:
“My father was a wandering Aramaean. He went down into Egypt to find refuge there, few in numbers; but there he became a nation, great, mighty, and strong. The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. He brought us here and gave us this land, a land where milk and honey flow. Here then I bring the first-fruits of the produce of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” You must then lay them before the Lord your God, and bow down in the sight of the Lord your God.’
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm: Ps 90:1-2. 10-15
R. Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
and abides in the shade of the Almighty
says to the Lord: ‘My refuge,
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!’ R.
Upon you no evil shall fall,
no plague approach where you dwell.
For you has he commanded his angels,
to keep you in all your ways. R.
They shall bear you upon their hands
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
On the lion and the viper you will tread
and trample the young lion and the dragon. R.
His love he set on me, so I will rescue him;
protect him for he knows my name.
When he calls I shall answer: ‘I am with you.’
I will save him in distress and give him glory. R.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Second Reading: Romans 10:8-13
Scripture says: The word, that is the faith we proclaim, is very near to you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask for his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g. ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry. Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.’
Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose. Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says:
You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’
Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said to him, ‘throw yourself down from here, for Scripture says:
He will put his angels in charge of you to guard you, and again: They will hold you up on their hands
in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’
But Jesus answered him, ‘It has been said: you must not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him to return at the appointed time.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.
Focusing the Word
Key words and phrases
Jesus was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there.
The word is very near to you.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Bow down in the sight of your God.
Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.
to the point
Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit into the desert . . . to be tempted’. Not even the Son of God was exempt from the need for prayer, fasting, and struggling with temptation. Our Lenten imitation of Jesus in prayer, fasting, and resisting temptation strengthens us to follow Jesus by daily taking up our cross and laying down our life.
Connecting the Word
to the first reading
Professing faith involves at least expression in religious rituals (see first reading) and living it daily by resisting temptation.
to religious experience
In daily life people often grow discouraged because they have to face the same temptation over and over again. Being tempted may not mean that we are not growing in our relationship with God or that we are far from God. It is an opportunity to turn more fervently to God.
Understanding the Word
Luke organises the temptations of Jesus to showcase some of the major themes. For Luke the ministry of Jesus fulfils God’s promises to Israel. Thus, Luke is very respectful of Jewish traditions, institutions, and Scriptures. For this reason Luke places a special emphasis on the Temple, the visible sign of God’s presence to the people. Luke begins the gospel with Zechariah in the Temple (1:8ff); he ends it with the disciples in the Temple praising God (24:52); the only episode from Jesus’ youth, and the last story before his appearance as an adult, takes place in the Temple (2:46-52). In this Sunday’s episode Luke puts the temptation at the Temple in the third and climactic position (Matthew 4:5-7 has it second). Here, at the Temple in Jerusalem, the devil tempts Jesus to have God preserve him from death. Jesus’ refusal to yield to this temptation foreshadows the time when Jesus comes again to Jerusalem to face his death. Then, he will lay down his life rather than throw it away.
Jesus responds to each of the three temptations of the devil using only words from Scripture – he speaks no words of his own to the devil. Jesus quotes – and fulfils – Scripture. This highlights the centrality of God’s word. It also attests to the power of Scripture which can be used to resist the power of the devil. Which brings us to the next point.
Before Jesus begins his ministry, he confronts the devil, the most powerful of his adversaries. This confrontation is merely ‘the first round’, as it were. Every time Jesus exorcises demons, heals the sick, and restores the handicapped, he is attacking and subduing the power of the devil. The devil departs for a time, only to return when he induces Judas to betray Jesus (22:3); similarly, the proceedings that lead to Jesus’ death are the time for the power of darkness (22:53). These temptations are the first salvo in a struggle that will last throughout the gospel. They reveal Jesus as ‘the Son of God’ (4:3, 9) who demonstrates sonship not in power but in fidelity.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh
THE WRITTEN STYLE OF THE REALHOMILIE
It is my aim that I present the Homily to you in a way that you might hear me speaking.
I do not follow the strict rules of written prose as such; I use the techniques of oratory shared with me
in many Mission Sermons, and Mission Instructions by tried and true Mission Fathers,
from whom I am privileged to
have been formed in that great tradition.
St.Paul of the Cross. Pray for us.
Dear One and All,
The Gospel Reading today is common to Years A, B and C. We hear the familiar story of the Temptations of Jesus in the Desert. Let’s situate this story in the life and ministry of Jesus. Having been baptised in the Jordan River, and joined by public sinners in a very public place, Jesus is led into the Desert to be tested! Notice it was ‘the Spirit’ which impelled Jesus to go into the Desert. In doing so, Jesus was identifying with the people of Israel ( His people), as they too had been in the Desert for a long time after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt; they too were tested, and within that testing time they were invited into the Marriage Covenant by the Lord God on Mt Sinai. That great event of Salvation had left an indelible mark upon the corporate mind of God’s people. In Jesus, we now see him being tested, as well as being empowered by the Spirit, which enabled him to refute the Devil’s Temptations in favour of a life orientation of unconditional loving service. These Temptations were not just applicable to Jesus, they are the Temptations that have always harassed humanity…Here they are:- The pursuit of Power, The pursuit of Glory, and the pursuit of Avoiding Responsibility. These Temptations were knocked back by Jesus, but they came back to haunt Him many times during His life time, in various shapes and sizes. The same happens to us, doesn’t it? Jesus was nurtured by that special filial relationship with his Father during the time of testing, and at the end of this ordeal, the Lord God’s messengers ministered to Him. Let’s not forget that Jesus was like us in all things, but sin!
TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS Luke 4:1-14
- “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.”
Jesus replied: “Man does not live on bread alone.”
1st Temptation: FULFILLMENT OF PLEASURE AS A LIFE ORIENTATION.
2. “I will give you all this power and the glory of these
Kingdoms….worship me, and it shall be yours.”
Jesus replied: “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”
2ND Temptation: POWER AS A LIFE ORIENTATION.
3. “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down for here, for Scripture says, He will put his angels in charge of you, to guard you, and again: They will hold you up on their hands in case your hurt your foot against a stone.”
Jesus replied:” You must not put the Lord your God to the test”.
3rd Temptation: AVOIDING RESPONSIBILITY AS A LIFE ORIENTATION.
JESUS REJECTED ALL THESE IN FAVOUR OF A LIFE ORIENTATION
OF CONDITIONAL SERVICE AND LOVE.
Jesus truly identifies himself with all humanity, and in every age. Jesus did not have to go very far from the Jordan to be in the Desert…just a few miles walk, and in fact he was in sight of Mt.Nebo on the opposite side of the Jordan valley…the very place where Moses and the Hebrews viewed the Promised Land, after their long trek through the Desert. He was also in sight of Jericho, the salad bowl of the Jordan Valley….food, fruit and water a plenty.
The Desert experience was a time of assessment. It is a fact of life that good will always be tested by evil. If an undertaking, which is supposed to be good, doesn’t come under attack of some kind from somewhere, then, its value should be reassessed. There is not a saint in Heaven, or a truly great person on earth who has not, or does not attract some vicious slander, or find their paths strewn with obstacles. Jesus joins that group in today’s Gospel and still suffers that within His Body the Church.
As we enter into the spirit of Lent, let us check out the direction and quality of our lives. How do we deal with temptation? Do we sustain our inner selves by responding to God’s life-giving Word through Sacred Scripture? Do we take ‘time-out’ (a mini Desert experience) to re evaluate the quality of our lives, or are we in fact being led by alternatives to the Gospel message? Do we make room for God’s Spirit, to bring to the surface in ourselves, the holiness that lies deep within? May the Lenten reminder of our fragility stay close to us, if we feel tempted to create an everlasting city within ourselves. “Remember, we are but dust, and unto dust we shall return; turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel” Amen.
God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other the next time that we are held in conversation with the Lord, Fr.Kev
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: We pray for the strength to resist temptation and for an increase in faith.
That all members of the Church enter into the desert of Lent in fasting and prayer to receive the strength to resist temptation. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That peoples of the world share in the salvation God offers through the death and resurrection of the Son. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That the weak and frightened find courage and strength in the nearness of God. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That each of us enter into Lent with seriousness of purpose and resolve of will to live what we believe. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That Pope Benedict will experience, peace, happiness and contentment as he vacates the Papacy. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That the Cardinals of the world will tune it to the graced insight freely given by the Holy Spirit to choose the right person who will shepherd the global church. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
Leader: Merciful God, you send your Spirit to strengthen us in times of need: hear these our prayers that we will always remain faithful to you and one day enjoy eternal life with you. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.