Readings and Reflection for Sunday February 26, First Sunday of Lent

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FIRST READING
Creation of our first parents, and their sin.
A reading from the Book of Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 51 :3-4.5-6ab.12-13.14 and 17 (R. cf. 3a)
R/. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your merciful love;
according to your great compassion,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me completely from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin. R/.

My transgressions, truly I know them;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done. R/.

R/. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Create a pure heart for me, O God;
renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence;
take not your holy spirit from me. R/.

Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. R/.

SECOND READING
“Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 5:12- 19

Brethren: As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned— sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

The word of the Lord.

VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL Matthew 4:4b

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

GOSPEL

Jesus fasted forty days and was tempted. A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 4: 1-11

At that time: Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION

What do we live on? What is it that sustains our life today and instills in us the hope for a better future? The temptation narrative invites us to look at our life from God’s perspective and not that of the tempter. What does God want from me in my concrete life situation today? Certainly, He does not want me to get hooked on miracles or to pay allegiance to demonic forces, or to demonstrate or be enticed by demonstrations of putative powers. If He had succumbed to the tempter, Jesus would have betrayed and abandoned His mission. So what do we live on? Jesus’ response is instructive. Our life is dependent on God whether or not we are in need. God does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. Let us learn to trust in Him – and in Him alone. He is enough for us.

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