Scripture studies for all of Sundays of Lent 2014 are available here.
First Sunday of Lent- Cycle A
March 9, 2014
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First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
- As we begin the penitential season of Lent, this Sunday’s Gospel reading shows Jesus right after his baptism by John in the Jordan River being led into the wilderness to confront Satan.
- Jesus’ forty days of trial in the wilderness recalls that of the Old Testament patriarch Moses (Exodus 24:18, 34:28) and of the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8).
- Jesus’ experience also reflects Israel’s forty year “testing” (temptation) in the desert (Exodus 17:1-9; Numbers 14:1-38; Psalm 95:8-11), the difference being that Jesus, in accepting God’s will, passes the test without rebelling against God. Jesus answers the devil with quotes from the book of Deuteronomy, which in part tells the story of Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness (verse 4—Deuteronomy 8:3; verse 7—Deuteronomy 6:16; verse 10—Deuteronomy 6:13).
- Jesus was tempted like us (Hebrews 4:15), but not like us (James 1:13,15; 1 John 3:5). In combating temptation, Jesus relied on his human will rather than his divine will; even so, the devil could only externally tempt him, so intent was he to do the will of God.
- In the 1st Reading, Eve, and then Adam, are tempted by Satan to disobey God. What do you think was the root cause of their sin?
- In the 2nd Reading, what is the point St. Paul is trying to make? How does the sin of the first Adam compare with the grace given through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Second Adam?
- In the Gospel, what links these temptations with the baptism of Jesus (verses 1, 3, 6)?
- For each of these three temptations: (a) What is its nature, (b) what might potentially appeal to Jesus’ human nature, (c) what price would there be for him to yield, and (d) how does Jesus respond?
- Inasmuch as Jesus, as a divine Person, could not sin, what was the point in tempting him? How do you relate this passage to the petition of Christ’s own prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”?
- What spiritual benefit can be gained through temptation, and why would the Holy Spirit lead you (or allow you to go) where you would have to face it (James 1:2-4)?
- What human need is at the heart of each of these temptations? How are these needs evident in your life? How does Satan use them to tempt you?
- How have you tested God or presumed on his care for you? What do Jesus’ replies to Satan tell you about the attitude you should foster towards God’s care for you?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 538, 566, 2119, 1438
Occupy your mind with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones. Unoccupied, they cannot be. -St. Thomas More
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