1st Sunday of Lent
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
The first reading tells us about the promise of victory. The second reading reveals that “Amen” means “Yes, I believe in it.” The Gospel shows that friendship is a call to action in time of need.
This week, let the sign of your friendship to Christ be a response of joy, compassion, and integrity. Look very seriously at your friendship to others and see if you respond to their need like the four friends in the Gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the power to say “Yes” to those in need who are around you. Your gift of friendship is a sign to others that, because you are loved by Christ, you are capable of loving others, no matter what the situation may be or how many roofs you may have to open.
- What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what Personal? application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ GENESIS 9:8-15 FIRST READING
(“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you.”)
- What kind of a man was Noah, and what did God say he was establishing with Noah and his sons and their descendants? Genesis 6:9-10 and Genesis 9:8-9
- In addition to Noah, his sons and their descendants, for whom did God establish this covenant? Gen. 9:10
- As a result of establishing the covenant, what would never again happen? Genesis 9:11
- At the Last Supper, what did Jesus say is the cup? Luke 22:20
- Who is the mediator of a new covenant? Hebrews 9:14-15
- What did God give the people of all ages to come that showed the covenant between them? Genesis 9:12,13
- What was the sign given to the shepherds in the field? Luke 2:11-12
- When some scribes and Pharisees were asking Jesus for a sign, what did he tell them? Matthew 12:38-40
- What served as a sign of the covenant between God and the earth? Genesis 9:13
- When will God recall the covenant he has made with us, and what will never again happen? Genesis 9:14-15
Personal? – When you see a rainbow in the sky, what is your response? Have you made a covenant with God or anyone else? What is that covenant, and how have you carried it out?
THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 3:18-22 SECOND READING
(“…the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,”)
- For what did Christ suffer, for whom and why? 1 Peter 3:18
- Who is the righteous one? 1 John 2:1
- How are we made righteous? Romans 3:22-26
- In what was Christ put to death, and in what was He brought to life? 1 Peter 3:18
- To whom did Christ preach in the spirit? 1 Peter 3:19
- Who were saved, and how were they saved? 1 Peter 3:20
- What does this prefigure, and what does it do now? 1 Peter 3:21
- What does baptism not do, and what is it? 1 Peter 3:21
- Into what have we been baptized? Romans 6:3-4
- What was Paul to do, and how was he to do it? Acts 22:14-15
- How has the church (the people) been cleansed? Ephesians 5:26
- Where did Jesus go, and who is subject to him? 1 Peter 3:22
Personal? – In what way have you personally received the gift of salvation through your baptism? Did you have to do anything to receive baptism?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:12-15 GOSPEL
(“This is the time of fulfillment.”)
- Who drove Jesus out into the desert, and what had just taken place? Mark 1:9-12
- Where did Jesus remain, and for how long? Mark 1:13
- What did the Lord make the Israelites do, and for what reason? Numbers 32:13
- Where did the woman go who gave birth to a son, and who had the place prepared for her? Revelation 12:5-6
- By whom was Jesus tempted, who was he among, and who ministered to him? Mark 1:13
- What broke out in the heavens, who was the huge dragon, what did he do, and where was he thrown? Revelation 12:7-9
Personal – In what way have you been tempted, and how have you handled it?
- After John had been arrested, where did Jesus go, and what did he proclaim? Mark 1:14
- What time did Jesus say this was, what was at hand, and what must we do and believe? Mark 1:15
- Where did John the Baptist do his preaching, and what did he say? Matthew 3:1-2
- What does God demand now, and for what reason? Acts 17:30-31
- In whom are we to believe, and what will happen if we do? Acts 16:31
Personal? – In what way have you repented of unbelief in Jesus? Are there still some areas in your life you are holding onto? Repent and turn to God.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 25:4-9
(“Guide me in your truth and teach me, …”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 25:4-9.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
Today’s reading shows us very clearly the mercy of God and the patience of Noah. Noah occasionally tested the earth to see whether it was dry, but he never got out of the ark until told by God. He knew that it had to be God’s timing and not his. God knew that even though the water was gone, the earth was still not dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to survive outside of the ark. Noah and his family were on the ark about a year, so to wait and move only after the Lord told him was a great lesson in humility and obedience for people of all ages.
We, like Noah, must learn to trust God in all matters of our lives. We need to ask him for patience during the difficult times when we must wait. A sign was given to Noah that God would never flood the earth again. The sign was a beautiful rainbow, and we still see that rainbow today.
God has made a covenant with his people throughout the Bible. Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation if they obeyed God. The sign God used was a smoking fire pot and flaming torch (Genesis 15:12-21). At Mt. Sinai, Israel would be a Holy nation, but they would have to keep their part of the covenant through obedience. The sign of God was the Exodus.
Jesus is the “New Covenant” and forgiveness and salvation are through him. The sign that we have today is the Resurrection. God is alive, and we are called to be his witness of joy. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son, so that if we believe in him, we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). God is love and we really begin to love him when we realize that he loves us right where we are (1 John 4:16).
1 PETER 3:18-22
This reading brings us all into the very heart of our faith. We believe in a God who loves us so much that he died for us knowing that we would all be sinners. His death and resurrection have justified our expectation of being with him forever. We did nothing on our own to merit such a tremendous privilege, except to believe in faith that he would save us. His love is so strong that he will always forgive the repentant sinner.
The rabbis at that time taught the Jews that they should forgive three times those who offended them. Peter, trying to be extra generous, asked Jesus if seven times were enough times to forgive someone. Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22). He meant that we should not keep track of the number of times we forgive someone. We are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and forgive those who are truly repentant no matter how many times they ask. Christ in the spirit went to preach to the spirits in prison. (1 Peter 3:19). This was to all those who died and believed in him. He gave them hope that they would be with him in heaven.
We are told that because of our baptism, we too will rise like Christ and be victorious. We do not need to have any fear because we believe in and belong to Christ and nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:35-39). We too will some day enjoy that special banquet of the Lord. We will observe him clearly and see all the angelic rulers and powers subjected to him. Our baptism is not a ritual. It is an encounter that means life-changing action every day of the year. Our baptism has brought us into the family of God. Our heavenly Father has adopted us because our loving Brother and Savior died for us. He now awaits all of his believers to celebrate life forever.
Jesus left the crowds that flocked around him at his baptism and went into the desert where he was tempted by Satan. Jesus shows us that all of us can be tempted and that temptation is bad for us only when we give in. We must always remember that times of inner testing need not be hated and resented because through them our character can be strengthened and God can teach us valuable lessons. Jesus will never desert us when we face Satan and deal with his false promises. Satan tempted and persuaded Adam and Eve to sin in the garden. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness and did not persuade him. To be tempted is not wrong, but to tempt others or cause them to give in is simply SIN. Jesus endured the time of trial by not sinning when tempted so that he could reinforce the proof that Satan can be defeated.
We have within us the Holy Spirit who is the second person of the Holy Trinity. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and we could not do anything to fight against Satan if we did not have the Spirit within us. We do not have to fear, the power of the Spirit will help us defeat Satan in any temptation, at any time and place (1 John 4:4).
The Good News that Jesus preaches is “That at last he is here and he began God’s personal reign on earth.” The people who first heard this message were oppressed, poor and without hope. Jesus’ words were good news because they offered freedom, blessing and promise. Because he wants to begin his personal reign on earth, he depends on us. We are his eyes, arms and legs. Scripture tells us what Jesus said being in the Kingdom of God would mean. The Spirit of God has anointed you, he is upon you giving you strength and courage (Luke 4:18). The reign of God is at hand, go forth and heal, go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
This week’s first reading shows us that patience is a virtue of God and man. In the second reading we see baptism as a pledge of forgiveness from God. The Gospel tells us to change our attitudes to those of the Good News.
This week, ask your spouse, children, friends and employers and employees where you need to change. Have them write out what they see as a needed change. See what is the most popular area of sin in you. Then each day practice some small action for about one week. Do not mention to anyone about the list. Your attitude will change with prayer, reading Scripture, going to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and through discipline. Watch for a very spiritual awakening for many people in your life.