FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
February 22, 2015
On the first Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading in each Lectionary cycle is about Jesus' temptation in the desert. This event in the life of Jesus is reported in each of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—but it is not found in John's Gospel. This year we read Mark's account of this event.
Compared to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the details throughout Mark's narrative are sparse. This is evident in Mark's account of Jesus' temptation in the desert. Mark tells us only that Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit and that for 40 days he was tempted by Satan. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke explain that Jesus fasted while in the desert, that Satan presented him with three temptations, and that Jesus refused each one, quoting Scripture. Only the Gospels of Matthew and Mark report that angels ministered to Jesus at the end of his time in the desert.
In each of the Synoptic Gospels, the temptation of Jesus follows his baptism by John the Baptist. In Mark's Gospel, we are told that Jesus went into the desert immediately after his baptism, led by the Spirit. Jesus' public ministry in Galilee begins after his temptation in the desert. Mark's Gospel makes a connection between the arrest of John the Baptist and the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Jesus' preaching about the Kingdom of God is in continuity with the preaching of John the Baptist, but it is also something new. As Jesus announces it, the Kingdom of God is beginning; the time of the fulfillment of God's promises is here.
The fact that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert is significant. This recalls the 40 years that the Israelites wandered in the desert after being led from slavery in Egypt. The prophet Elijah also journeyed in the desert for 40days and nights, making his way to Horeb, the mountain of God, where he was also attended to by an angel of the Lord. Remembering the significance of these events, we also set aside 40 days for the season of Lent.
In Mark's Gospel, the desert marks beginning of Jesus' battle with Satan; the ultimate test will be in Jesus' final hours on the cross. In a similar way, our Lenten observances are only a beginning, a preparation for and a reinforcement of our ongoing struggle to resist the temptations we face in our lives. During Lent, we are led by the Holy Spirit to remember the vows of Baptism in which we promised to reject sin and to follow Jesus. Just as Jesus was ministered to by the angels, God also supports us in our struggle against sin and temptation. We succeed because Jesus conquered sin once and for all in his saving death on the cross.
© Loyola Press
Used with permission
WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR LENT?
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Parish of the Precious Blood
November 25, 2014
Dear Visioning Participants,
It is with a profound sense of pride and gratitude as we reach out to all of you who participated in the Parish Visioning Process. Wow, what an outcome! In the next few days, I will put out e-mails to 80 participants. The excitement is felt in our Pastoral Council; help us to keep that excitement alive!
We feel we should share some of that excitement with you. Highlights of our Pastoral Council meeting consisted of comments such as: The presence of the Holy Spirit was most powerful; worship sites came together to share faith; a vision of our Parish Life was presented; the ability to connect a name with a face gave us a sense of community and unity. The testimonies given by some of you were powerful and easy to relate to. Father Labrie was amazed at how two sessions (Nov. 1 & Nov. 8) had the same concerns and insights. He felt that all of you were concerned and engaged in these sessions. He also shared that ‘we are together more than we realize’.
Where do we go from here? Only forward because whatever we do will help us to grow stronger as a parish community.
A lot of work still needs to be done; don’t be scared to continue to share your ideas and gifts with us. Join your Church Councils, be part of your Church Committees, come to a Pastoral Council Meeting, and as we develop a new way of reaching out to all parishioners; BE INVOLVED, MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Attached, you will find a copy of the results of the data collected in the 5 major categories (Communication, Internal Hospitality, External Hospitality, Sharing the Faith and Strengthening the Family) and the action plan that was formulated by all of you.
On November 15, 2014, you and all of us together made it happen! We, the Pastoral Council want to thank each of you for your willingness to participate in moving these plans forward.