Sunday Readings and Reflections

The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain by Duccio di Buoninsegna

Sunday, March 6 
First Sunday of Lent 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Colette

Book of Deuteronomy 26,4-10.

Moses spoke to the people saying: “The priest shall then receive the basket from you and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God. 
Then you shall declare before the LORD, your God, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean who went down to Egypt with a small household and lived there as an alien. But there he became a nation great, strong and numerous. 
When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us, imposing hard labor upon us, 
we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and he heard our cry and saw our affliction, our toil and our oppression. 
He brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders; 
and bringing us into this country, he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey. 
Therefore, I have now brought you the first fruits of the products of the soil which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And having set them before the LORD, your God, you shall bow down in his presence.” 

Psalms 91(90),1-2.10-11.12-13.14-15.

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, 
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, 
my God, in whom I trust.” 

No evil shall befall you, 
nor shall affliction come near your tent, 
for to his angels he has given command about you, 
that they guard you in all your ways. 

Upon their hands they shall bear you up, 
lest you dash your foot against a stone. 
You shall tread upon the asp and the viper; 
you shall trample down the lion and the dragon. 

Because he clings to me, I will deliver him; 
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name. 
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; 
I will be with him in distress; 
I will deliver him and glorify him. 

Letter to the Romans 10,8-13.

Brothers and sisters: What does scripture say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach), 
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 
For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 
For the scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. 
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 4,1-13.

Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert 
for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. 
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” 
Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. 
The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. 
All this will be yours, if you worship me.” 
Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.'” 
Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 
for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 
and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” 
Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'” 
When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. 

Reflection by Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican City, 17 February 2013

Dear brothers and sisters!

Last Wednesday, with the traditional distribution of ashes, we entered into Lent, a time of conversion and penance in preparation for Easter. The Church, who is mother and teacher, calls all of her members to renew themselves spiritually, to reorient themselves toward God, renouncing pride and egoism to live in love. In this Year of Faith Easter is a favorable time to rediscover faith in God as a basic criterion for our life and the life of the Church. This always means a struggle, a spiritual combat, because the evil spirit naturally opposes our sanctification and seeks to turn us away from the path to God. That is why each year on the first Sunday of Lent the Gospel narrative of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is proclaimed.

Jesus, in fact, after having received “investiture” as Messiah – “anointed” with the Spirit – at the baptism in the Jordan, was led by the same Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. At the beginning of his public ministry Jesus had to unmask and reject the false images of the Messiah that the tempter proposed to him. But these temptations are also false images of man, which always harass our conscience, disguising themselves as suitable, effective and even good proposals. The evangelists Matthew and Luke present 3 temptations of Jesus, differing in part only in the order. The nucleus of these temptations always consists in instrumentalizing God for our own interests, giving more importance to success or to material goods. The tempter is clever: he does not direct us immediately towar evil but toward a false good, making us believe that power and things that satiate primary needs are what is most real. In this manner God becomes secondary; he is reduced to a means, he becomes unreal, he no longer counts, he disappears. In the final analysis, faith is what is at stake in temptations because God is at stake. In the decisive moments of life and, in fact, in every moment of life, we are faced with a choice: do we want to follow the “I” or God? Do we want to follow individual interest or rather the true Good, that which is really good?

As the Fathers of the Church teach us, temptations are of Jesus’ “descent” into our human condition, into the abyss of sin and its consequences. A “descent” that Jesus undertook to the very end, to the point of death on the cross and the descent into the netherworld (inferi) of extreme distance from God. In this way he is the hand of God extended to man, to the lost sheep, to bring back him to safety. As St. Augustine teaches, Jesus has taken temptations from us to give us his victory (cf. Enarr. in Psalmos, 60,3: PL 36, 724). Therefore, we too are not afraid to face combat with the evil spirit: the important point is that we do it with him, with Christ, the Victor. And to stand with him we turn to the Mother, Mary: let us invoke her with filial confidence in the hour of trial, and she will make us feel the powerful presence her divine Son, to reject the temptations with the Word of Christ, and so to put God once again at the center of our life.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

Click here for a live-streamed Traditional Latin Mass

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