Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

First Sunday of Lent Year A

THE FIRST SUNDAY of Lent introduces us to the many realities of our lives. The themes of sin, the fall of Adam, the redemption of Christ and overcoming sin and evil come to the fore. These themes are a key to a better preparation before we celebrate the feast of Easter.

The First Reading brings us to an awareness of our own sinfulness. The reading recalls the story of the fall of our first parents who disobeyed the word of God by eating the forbidden fruit. Their sinning was realized through the deception of the devil. The devil persuaded Adam and Eve to turn away from the truth and from God. As a result, many graces had been lost because of sin, and their action had an effect to the entire humanity.

The Second Reading contrasts Adam with Christ. While many things were lost in the wake of disobedience of Adam, through the obedience of Christ a new life has been won. St Paul says that “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.” Thus, we have been saved by the obedience of Christ which culminated in Jesus’ death on the Cross.

The Gospel talks about the temptations of Jesus in the desert. We have seen the dramatic struggle of Jesus. While Jesus prayed and fasted for forty days and forty nights, the devil entered and offered propositions to Jesus. But Jesus never entertained these enticements. He was victorious over the devil.

What is the significance of these readings in this Lenten Season?

First, Lenten season is a time to rediscover the reality of sin in our lives. It is especially important because more and more people now no longer feel that they are sinning or they no longer have the “sense of sin.” Some may still feel the sin, but they tend to relativize or rationalize their sins. In fact, for some, if a sin is becoming “popular” or being committed by many, they would not feel anymore the guilt. We can hear people who say, “Father, almost all of us in the office are doing it. So I don’t feel guilty at all.”

Second, Lenten season is a time for new life with Christ. Let us remember that the obedience of Jesus, even to the Cross, has made a difference. We were saved and we have become sharers in the blessings of salvation. Let us make this salvation as our own, by following also the will of God. Obedience to the word or to the will of God may not be an easy thing to do. Like our first parents, we have the tendency to simply do what we want, and on the process, we have rejected God. Let us not forget that true freedom can only be had if we have the capacity to follow the will of God.

Third, the temptation by the devil reminds us of the temptations that we face daily. Jesus was tempted thrice according to the account, and these three temptations are likewise common temptations that we encounter every day. The three temptations are temptations to riches, power and fame. But Jesus never caved in to Satan’s enticing propositions. He fought against the devil. In our life, our tendency is to entertain the devil’s enticements which lead us to commit sin. In such a case, we have been following or bowing to the devil. Lenten season is a time to go back to God. If we have the capacity to refuse the temptations, in effect, we acknowledge the true God who must be in control of our life.


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