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 on bread alone."
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Knowing your roots--it’s become an obsession for many of us.
There’s a wealth of resources available for researching one’s family history; people enjoy knowing about their ancestors and where they came from. When we learn about our family’s past we can appreciate the cultural riches our ancestors brought to us, their descendants.
In today’s first reading, Moses makes knowing the family history a part of the worship of Israel—and so it is to this day. As part of every Seder service, Jewish families retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We Catholics also bring our “family history” into our liturgy. Our Lenten season chooses some of the most basic stories of faith to remind us where we’ve come from. More importantly, these stories lead us directly to Jesus, and the story of our redemption in his death and resurrection.
Today, as we hear of the Lord’s temptations in the desert, let’s let this very human portrait of Jesus remind us of how we’re called to respond in times of temptation: To depend upon God’s grace, and allow it to support and sustain us. It’s the living story of our faith, our baptismal commitment, which we reaffirm in this Lenten season.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
This week's first reading tells how the Jews should offer the “first fruits” of the land. Why are they told to say, “when we were in slavery” and “how God brought us out of Egypt?”
The person making the offering of “first fruits” of the land is told to bow down in the presence of God in the temple. What does the bow show?
Do you think about God’s gifts to you when you genuflect or bow in your church?
When it comes to faith, does it make any difference if a person is a Jew or gentile, according to the second reading? Or African or Asian or Muslim or Hindu?
Paul says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Do you have friends or neighbors who have a different religion or are of a different race or nationality?
Can a Muslim be saved by God based on Paul’s letter to the Romans?
The Gospel talks about how Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days” and how he was tempted by the devil, three times. Can you name those three temptations?
What is the significance of the number 40 in the Bible? Can you name any other time where the number 40 is involved?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
- Each of us has temptations, such as a certain food or shopping. Give everyone a piece of paper and have him or her write down all of their temptations. Post it somewhere that everyone can see and try to help each other out during Lent to avoid these temptations.
- Jesus spent 40 days alone in the desert praying. Try to spend 40 minutes this week in quiet—no phone, TV, or music.