MARCH 5, 2017: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
by Larry Gillick, S.J.





Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
Roman 5:12-19orRomans 5:12, 17-19
Matthew 4:1-11


In our First Reading for this liturgy, we hear of one garden, two newly-minted beings and two trees surrounded by various varieties of flora and fauna. Ah yes, I forgot about the serpent.
How did it slither in without my notice? All good stories and plays have an inciting incident in order to accelerate the action. What would you say is the real beginning of the energy or excitement of this story? It could be the announcement that everything was good and available, everything that is, except touching or eating of one of the trees. Maybe, but for the sake of my imagination, let us say that it is Mrs. Adam’s desire for wisdom.
God has forbidden them to eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat of the forbidden tree. Why would she want to have that kind of knowledge? She and her mate wanted the “quick and easy”. God did not say exactly what would result from eating of the other tree, the “tree of Life”. Perhaps eating of that tree would invite a taste for more life, but that would take a life of time and tasting. Eating of the “knowledge tree” would result in self-fascination and a “leaf-covering” shame of negativity. Eating from this tree faced them both with the struggle about what is good and what is bad about them.


 


The “tree of Life” would have resulted in their seeing what God had said about all of creation, including them, that all was good and that they were “very good”. Alas, they wanted a sound-bite; a something which would solve incompleteness. What they received was their life-long struggle to learn from the “tree of life” the wisdom that comes from the long-and-hard climb up the branches of life.

In the reading from Paul to the Romans, it is comforting to hear about how disobedience, literally “not-listening”, is contrasted to the “listening” of the “New Adam, Jesus”. One sin of one man is contrasted with the one life of receiving himself and living that life to its end on the “Tree of the Cross.”

The Gospel for today is the account of Jesus’ beginning his living his identity. In the verses immediately before what we hear, we read of Jesus being announced as the “beloved” of the Father in Whom God is well pleased. Jesus heard what the Father had said, and was sent to live that identity.

So the rising action of His story takes place quite quickly. The devil has Him where he wants Him. Jesus is hungry, vulnerable unsupported by anything except his name.

In three straight little stories, the Tempter is back at it. “Forget yourself, your name, what you heard and listen to what others would say of you. You changed stones into bread. You went flying off the ledge and landed safely. You now have all the kingdoms, handed to you by the real creator of what life can be.” Jesus seems to laugh at the Devil’s silly invitations to forget or deny His Self and His relationship with His Father and His Father’s Kingdom.

The Tempter is the fashioner of the “quick-and easy” style of life. The Tempter is still working on humanity to convince us that knowledge is wisdom and it can be obtained googily or by drinking this or doing that. Jesus lived the life now traveled by those de-fig-leafed by God’s love. Lent is the time for letting our names and identities be listened to again. We are walking life’s road toward our being immersed again in the waters of Easter. We are encouraged and graced to continue climbing the “Tree of Life” and rejoicing in the wisdom-fruit it offers to the patient climbers.









da:
http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/030517.html



 

 

 

 

 

APRIL 9: PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD'S PASSION
Dick Hauser, S.J.
These words of Jesus spoken while hanging on the cross are among the most disturbing words in the Gospels. Jesus’ cry of ...to be continued

 

APRIL 9: PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD'S PASSION
Today we begin Holy Week, the days during which we journey with Jesus on his way of the cross and anticipate his ...to be continued

 

APRIL 2: FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT - LAETARE SUNDAY
Father Albert Lakra
Out of the depths I call to you O Lord: Lord hear my cry. Listen ...to be continued

APRIL 2: FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Our Gospel on this day, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is again taken ...to be continued

 

MARCH 26: FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT - LAETARE SUNDAY
Father Albert Lakra
There is a story told about a little boy at church with his mother ...to be continued

MARCH 26: FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
As we did last week, we are reading today from the Gospel of ...to be continued

 

MARCH 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Eileen Burke-Sullivan
I have always been struck by the simplicity of the Annunciation ...to be continued

MARCH 20: Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Maureen McCann Waldron
Jesus had a radically different view of God, one that drew so ...to be continued

 

MARCH 19: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
by Luis Rodriguez
For the second Sunday of Lent, we move from Jesus' retreat to ...to be continued

MARCH 19: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
On this Sunday and the next two Sundays, we break from ...to be continued

 

MARCH 12: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
by Joan Blandin Howard
Remember the first time riding a “two wheeler” without training ...to be continued

MARCH 12: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
For the second Sunday of Lent, we move from Jesus' retreat to ...to be continued

 

MARCH 5: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
In our First Reading for this liturgy, we hear of one garden, two ...to be continued

MARCH 5: FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
In each of the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) ...to be continued

 

 

PROPOSALS FOR MEDITATION - We want to offer spiritual texts, which can be of help to nourish our faith and strengthen our life in Christ: they are an opportunity to compare our experience with that of Christian witnesses 'old' and contemporary.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the King of Israel - Saint Andrew of Crete
We keep the coming feast of the Lord through deeds, not words - Saint Athanasius
Are we not all one another's brothers? - Theodore the Studite
Christ the high priest makes atonement for our sins - Origen
The mercy of God to the penitent - St. Maximus the Confessor
Hold fast to God, the one true good - Saint Ambrose
A Samaritan woman came to draw water - Saint Augustine
Friendship with God - William A. Barry, SJ
Christ and Moses - St. John Chrysostom
What should I give up for Lent? chocolate? ice cream? soda?
In Christ we suffered temptation, and in him we overcame ... - Saint Augustine
Biblical time: Chronos or Kairos? - Archbishop Christopher Prowse

 

 

 

 

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