Gospel Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent Year A – March 9th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, after which he was very hungry, and the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves’. But he replied, ‘Scripture says:
‘Man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.
The devil then took him to the holy city and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God’ he said ‘throw yourself down; for scripture says:
‘He will put you in his angels’ charge,
and they will support you on their hands
in case you hurt your foot against a stone’.
Jesus said to him, ‘Scripture also says:
‘You must not put the Lord your God to the test’.
Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. ‘I will give you all these’ he said, ‘if you fall at my feet and worship me.’ Then Jesus replied, ‘Be off, Satan! For scripture says:
‘You must worship the Lord your God,
and serve him alone.’
Then the devil left him, and angels appeared and looked after him.
Bread — use it just for yourself, the devil said. Stone are not for eating, Jesus said.
We can use God’s creation for ourselves… money, other people, the environment and religion. We are called to look after God’s creation, not control it. Jesus is invited to use his power to control: to fall from the temple, to look for the kingdoms of the world.
He doesn’t force us to be what we are not, as he does not force stones to be food. We need to entrust loved ones to God as well as care for them. Some people have been forced into being what they are not – marriages allowed and not allowed, religious life, jobs. Let our loved ones be themselves, as we let stones be stone. Love and friendship from anyone is a gift one to the other, not anyone’s right.
To be co-workers with God is our call, to focus on people as well as plans, to feel the needs here and abroad.
One view of God is that he looks after the world for good or bad, and we are just the receivers. The other is that we are co-workers in developing the world and God’s creation. Jesus was tempted to throw himself away from the world as he knew it, and did not. He would live by the word of God, and God would care for him.
That’s our call, that’s our role, our co-creating the world with God. We live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Donal Neary SJ