Sunday Readings and Reflections

Sunday, February 21 
First Sunday of Lent 

Roman Ordinary calendar


St. Peter Damian

Book of Genesis 9,8-15.

God said to Noah and to his sons with him : 
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 
and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 
I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” 
God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 
When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 
I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.” 

Psalms 25(24),4bc-5ab.6-7bc.8-9.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; 
teach me your paths, 
guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my savior. 

Remember that your compassion, O LORD, 
and your love are from of old. 
In your kindness remember me, 
because of your goodness, O LORD. 

Good and upright is the LORD; 
thus he shows sinners the way. 
He guides the humble to justice, 
he teaches the humble his way.   

First Letter of Peter 3,18-22.

Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. 
In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, 
who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. 
This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 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.” 

Origen (c.185-253) 
priest and theologian 
Commentary on the Song of Songs, III, 27-33 ; SC 376

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand”

Mortal life is full of obstacles to stumble over, covered with the snares of deception (…) And because the enemy had spread out these snares everywhere and caught practically everyone in them, it was necessary that someone stronger should appear to master and break them and thus destroy the path of those who were following them. For this reason, before coming to unite himself with the Church as his bride, our Savior was also tempted by the devil. (…) In this way he taught the Church that it is not by luxuriousness and pleasure but through many trials and temptations she must come to Christ.

Indeed, there was no one else who could have overcome these snares. «For all have sinned», as it is written (Rm 3,23)… Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is the only one who «committed no sin» (1Pt 2,22). But the Father «made him to be sin for our sake» (2Cor 5,21) so that «in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin» (Rm 8,3). Thus Jesus walked into these snares but was not himself entangled in them. More, when he had broken and destroyed them, he heartened the Church to the extent that, from now on, she would dare to crush obstacles underfoot, climb over the snares and say, in all happiness: «Our soul, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowlers. The snare has been broken and we have been saved» (Ps 124[123],7).

However, he himself underwent death, yet voluntarily and not, as we do, bound by sin. For he is the only one to have been «free among the dead» (Ps 87,6 LXX). And because he was free among the dead he conquered «the one who had the power of death» (Heb 2,14) and «took prisoners captive» from him (Eph 4,8), those who were held in death. It was not just that he himself was raised from the dead but, at the same time, he «brought to life those who were captives in death and seated them with him in the heavens» (Eph 2,5f.); «ascending on high, he took prisoners captive» (Eph 4,8).

TLM readings for the first Sunday of Lent (Mass Invocabit me (violet))

Epistle (II Corinthians 6 : 1 – 10)

Fratres: Exhortámur vos, ne in vácuum grátiam Dei recipiátis. Alt enim: Témpore accépto exaudívi, te et in die salútis adjúvi te. Ecce nunc tempus acceptbile, ecce nunc dies salútis. Némini dantes ullam offensiónem, ut non vituperétur ministérium nos- trum: sed in ómnibus exhibeámus nos metípsos sicut Dei minístros, in multa patiéntia, in tribulatiónibus, in necessitátibus, in angústiis, in plagis, in carcéribus, in seditiónibus, in labóribus, in vigíliis, in jejúniis, in castitáte, in sciéntia, in longanimitáte, in suavitáte, in Spíritu Sancto, in caritáte non ficta, in verbo veritátis, in virtúte Dei, per arma justítiæ a dextris et a sinístris: per glóriam et ignobilitátem: per infámiam et bonam famam: ut seductóres et veráces: sicut qui ignóti et cógniti: quasi moriéntes, et ecce vívimus: ut castigáti et non mortificáti: quasi tristes, semper autem gaudéntes: sicut egéntes, multos autem locupletántes: tamquam nihil habéntes et ómnia possidéntes.

Brethren: We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God: by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left: by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as known and yet unknown: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.

Gradual (Psalm 90 : 11, 12)

Ángelis suis Deus mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum.

God has given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Tract (Psalm 90:1–7,11–16)

Qui hábitat in adjutório Altíssimi, in protectióne Dei cœli commorábitur. ℣. Dicet Dómino: Suscéptor meus es tu et refúgium meum: Deus meus, sperábo in eum. ℣. Quóniam ipse liberávit me de láqueo venántium, et a verbo áspero. Scápulis suit obumbrábit tibi, et sub pennis ejus sperábis. Scuto circumdabit te véritas ejus: non timébis a timóre noctúrno. ℣. A sagítta volánte per diem, a negótio perambulánte in ténebris, a ruína et dæmónio meridiáno. ℣. Cadent a látere tuo mille, et decem míllia a dextris tuis: tibi autem non appropinquábit. ℣. Quóniam Ángelis suis mandávit de te, ut custódiant te in ómnibus viis tuis. ℣. In mánibus portábunt te, ne umquam offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. ℣. Super áspidem et basilíscum ambulábis, et conculcábis leónem et dracónem. ℣. Quóniam in me sperávit, liber- ábo eum: prótegam eum, quóniam cognóvit nomen me- um. ℣. Invocábit me, et ego exáudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatióne. ℣. Erípiam eum et glorificábo eum: longitúdine diérum adimplébo eum, et osténdam illi salutáre meum.

He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh to thee. For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known My Name. He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I will show him My salvation.

Gospel (Matthew 4 : 1 – 11)

In illo témpore: Ductus est Jesus in desértum a Spíritu, ut tentarétur a diábolo. Et cum jejunásset quadragínta diébus et quadragínta nóctibus, póstea esúriit. Et accédens tentátor, dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, dic ut lápides isti panes fiant. Qui respóndens dixit: Scriptum est: Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procédit de ore Dei. Tunc assúmpsit eum diábolus in sanctam civitátem, et státuit eum supra pinnáculum templi, et dixit ei: Si Fílius Dei es, mitte te deórsum. Scriptum est enim: Quia Ángelis suis mandávit de te, et in mánibus tollent te, ne forte offéndas ad lápidem pedem tuum. Alt illi Jesus: Rursum scriptum est: Non tentábis Dóminum Deum tuum. Iterum assúmpsit eum diábolus in montem excélsum valde et osténdit ei ómnia regna mundi et glóriam eórum, et dixit ei: Hæc ómnia tibi dabo si cadens adoráberis me. Tunc dicit ei Jesus: Vade, Sátana: scriptum est enim: Dóminum Deum tuum ador- ábis, et illi soli sérvies. Tunc relíquit eum diábolus: et ecce Angeli accessérunt et minis- trábant ei.

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written: That He hath given His Angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan! for it is written: The Lord Thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him.

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