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This Week's Liturgy

"He Was Hungry"

March 9th, 2014 (see other dates)

First Sunday of Lent

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

This is the story of the first sin, symbolized by the eating of the forbidden fruit. Lent is a time to look at sin and its consequences. How would you describe sin? Here it is described as disobedience to God. There are also other ways to think of it. One that comes to mind is "quick fix." We want something in an easy way, or something for ourselves, or something to be smoothed over, or perhaps something hard to be avoided, and a sinful solution appears, compliments of the "Adversary." (Adversary means someone who is against you. This name refers to Satan, the devil.) Thoughts like this come to mind: "This is only a little bit wrong. It will somehow turn out all right later." However, the quick fix usually turns out to have some kind of painful consequence that may, with God's grace, take a long time to make right. Without naming names, can you think of some examples?

Reading 1 Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

Reading 1 Reflection

As we begin the season of Lent, the first reading takes us back to the biblical story of the beginnings of the human race. In poetic images the author gives a picture of God modeling a clay figure, forming it into the shape of a human being and breathing into its nostrils life-giving breath. Then God plants a beautiful garden in which the first two human beings can be perfectly happy. But the serpent, a symbol of evil, tempts Adam and Eve to be "like gods" in their knowledge of good and evil. They choose to disobey God's will, and at that moment their innocence vanishes.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

Thanks to Jesus, our sinful situations can be made right again. Jesus brought us God's forgiveness and God's peace. Think now of some "hopeless situations" you know of. Take time now to pray for the forgiveness and peace that Jesus Christ has brought to us. Bring these broken situations to Jesus, and pray to be an instrument of his peace in every situation of pain. Pray together: Lord, your grace is always stronger than sin and death. We place our hope in you. Amen.

Reading 2 Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19

Reading 2 Reflection

Paul says that just as sin and death came through Adam, salvation and life came through Christ. If Christ had not come into the world, the Genesis story would have had a tragic ending. But Jesus is the "new Adam" whose grace is always more abundant than evil in the world. Thanks to Jesus, sin is never a hopeless situation.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

Lent can be a spiritual training camp for us today. It is a time to practice using God's word as our defensive weapon against temptation. What spiritual training plans will you put into practice during Lent? Prayer and fasting are traditional. Today's passage from the gospel might suggest that we spend a few minutes each day in reading Scripture. Or are we trying to live on bread alone?

Gospel Matthew 4:1-11

Gospel Reflection

As Jesus prepares to begin his ministry, he enters a kind of spiritual "training camp." Alone in the desert, he fasts and prays for forty days. When the devil tries to ambush him with three temptations to disobey God's will, Jesus is well armed. He defends himself with the word of God by quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy. He refuses to be tricked by false promises of power and glory.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Listening to God

Dramatize the story of the first man and woman. You might want to read the story from a missalette or from a children's Bible, using a different voice for each of the characters in the story. If you are reading from an age-appropriate source, invite the children to act out the story. Point out that a main point of the story is that the first man and woman did not listen to God.

End the session by having the children spend a few moments of quiet time as they "listen to God." Then say this or a similar prayer: "Dear God, as we begin Lent, help us to listen to you. Amen."

The Season of Lent with Jesus

Explain to the children: After Jesus was baptized, he went into the desert for forty days. He prayed. This is the first Sunday of Lent. The season of Lent helps us to be better followers of Jesus and to prepare for Easter. During Lent, we pray.

Distribute the reproducible master. Have the children color the sand on either side of the path in the desert. For each week of the season, invite the children to pray the prayer for that week and color that section of the path purple. Have the children use a purple crayon, because purple is the special color of Lent.

(Prayers on the reproducible master:)

Week 1: Jesus, we love you.

Week 2: Jesus, help us to be good.

Week 3: Jesus, thank you for sharing God's love.

Week 4: Jesus, we thank you for your love.

Week 5: Jesus, we want to follow you always.

Week 6: Jesus, thank you for giving your life for us.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Training Camp Plan

Jesus prepared for his ministry by a period of fasting, praying, and strengthening himself against temptation. How will you plan to use the time of Lent as your spiritual training camp? Write your plan for each week of Lent on the calendar. Suggestions are given, but feel free to come up with your own!

First Week:  I will . . . spend some time reading the gospels or the psalms.

Second Week:  I will . . . fast from unhealthy foods.

Third Week:  I will . . . volunteer at a soup kitchen, thrift shop, or day care center.

Fourth Week:  I will . . . learn a few lines of Scripture by heart.

Fifth Week:  I will . . . give clothes, money, or possessions to the poor.

Sixth Week:  I will . . . participate in Holy Week liturgies.

Be sure to keep your Lenten Calendar in a place where you can refer to it often during Lent.

Feeling God's Breath in Us

In the first reading, God is pictured as breathing life into the nostrils of the first human being. This powerful image reminds us that without God we would have no life in us. Choose one of these Scripture passages. Read it slowly to yourself as you breathe deeply in and out, in and out. Feel God's breath in you.

Note: You might lead a meditation exercise, using the third Scripture quote. Have the group close their eyes and breathe in and out deeply as you slowly repeat the line from John's Gospel.
  • In God's hand is the life-breath of all mankind. (See Job 12:10)

  • When you take away your breath, they die and go back to the dust from which they came.
    (See Psalm 104:29)
  • He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (See John 20:22)
When you complete this prayer exercise, write some of your thoughts on a sheet of paper.

For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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