In the Liturgy of the Word, the Church feeds the people of God from the table of his Word (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 51). The Scriptures are the word of God, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the Scriptures, God speaks to us, leading us along the path to salvation.

The First Sunday in Lent

We embarked on our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday, and now, the first Sunday of Lent propels us into Jesus’s own sojourn into the desert—a time marked by prayer, fasting, and confrontation with temptation.

The First Reading (Genesis 9:8-15) serves as a poignant reminder of the journey undertaken by God’s chosen people. Here, God establishes His Covenant with Noah and his descendants, as well as with the entire creation. Never again shall the earth be destroyed by a flood, with the rainbow in the sky serving as a sign of this promise.

Reflection Question:

  1. God seems to have a plan for his people. He brings them out of chaos and into his renewed world. Where is the chaos in your life? Can you allow God to help order your life?

In harmony with the overarching theme of hope threaded throughout the readings, Psalm 25 resonates with the assurance that the Lord’s ways are characterized by faithfulness and love.

St. Peter, in the Second Reading (I Peter 3:18-22), draws a connection between the individuals saved by Noah “through water” and ourselves. Through the baptism that Christ secured for us through his death and resurrection, we too find salvation.

Reflection  Questions:

  1. How has the gift of baptism been a navigation tool in your life?
  2. Peter speaks of a clear conscience. How do you allow God to work through your conscience?

The Gospel (Mark 1:12-15) offers a succinct narrative of Jesus’s temptation in the desert. Despite the trials, he emerges prepared to announce his message: “The kingdom of God is close at hand.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. It is after Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan that he begins his prayer and then his public ministry. How might baptism have aided in his efforts?
  2. Jesus calls us to repentance. How is repentance practiced in your life?
  3. Jesus gives us the good news in the gospel, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” What does the kingdom look like to you?
  4. Can your vision of the kingdom be actualized?

The Second Sunday in Lent

The common thread in this week’s readings is the theme of trusting in the Lord. As we progress through Lent, we are reminded of the depth of God’s love and generosity, urging us to heed His voice and place our trust in Him.

In the First Reading (Genesis 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18), we witness Abraham’s profound trust in God as he faces the daunting task of sacrificing his beloved son. Despite the immense challenge, Abraham’s unwavering faithfulness is met with blessings beyond measure.

Reflection Question:

  1. Reflecting on this, we might ponder how God has shown His pleasure and bestowed blessings upon us in our own lives.

The Psalmist in Psalm 116 expresses gratitude and praise to the Lord for delivering him, underscoring his trust in God even amidst great affliction. Like him, we too can find joy as we journey in the presence of the Lord.

In the Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34), St. Paul draws parallels to the story of Abraham and Isaac, urging us to contemplate the vastness of God’s love in sacrificing His Son for the world. With Jesus interceding for us at God’s right hand, we can confidently place our trust in Him.

Reflection Question:

  1. Have you ever sacrificed something for someone else? What motivated you to do so, and what sacrifices could you make now for God?

In the Gospel (Mark 9:2-10), Jesus urges Peter, James, and John to trust Him and refrain from sharing the wondrous sight they witnessed on the mountaintop.

Reflection Questions:

  1. This challenges us to consider the last decision, big or small, that changed our lives and why we made it.
  2. Scripture often depicts mountaintop experiences as transformative moments. Can you recall a significant mountaintop experience in your life?

To cultivate the grace to trust and listen more closely to the voice of the Lord, we can engage in prayer, meditation on Scripture, participation in the sacraments, and seeking guidance from spiritual mentors. Through these practices, we can deepen our relationship with God and journey ever more closely in His presence.

The Third Sunday in Lent

As we enter this third week of Lent, our readings remind us of God’s love for us, soon to be witnessed in the suffering and death of Christ Jesus.

The First Reading (Exodus 20:1-17)God speaks to the people of Israel after their release from slavery in Egypt. The Ten Commandments show his people to freely live in service of the One who has liberated them.

Reflection Questions:

  1. The Ten Commandments are designed to allow each person to live in peace; has that been your experience? Explain. 
  2. Are the Ten Commandments still valid for us today?

Psalm 19 speaks of the gifts the law of God brings in terms of wisdom, truth and life.

St Paul reflects on the way in which those who are called to follow Jesus see the crucified Christ. For those early Christians, and ourselves, this is not a sign of God’s foolishness or weakness, but a demonstration to the world of God’s power and wisdom, (I Corinthians 1:22-25),

Reflection  Questions:

  1. Paul talks about Christ crucified as a stumbling block to those who do not believe.  What challenges do you think Catholics face today because of what they believe?

In this week’s Gospel (John 2:13-25) we see Jesus sweep away the buyers and sellers from the Temple, which should be revered as the house of God. We are reminded that it is through Christ’s suffering and death that salvation will come, and the power and wisdom of God will be revealed.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Why wasn’t Jesus gentle like a quiet sheep? What was it that set Him off?
  2. Is anger ever justified?
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