Lectionary Reflections: First Sunday of Lent [a] March 5, 2017

Engaging Faith | Fri, Mar 3, 2017

By John Bucki, S.J.

First Sunday of Lent [a]

March 5, 2017


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

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

Matthew 4:1-11



March 3: World Wildlife Day 

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 12: Daylight Savings Time begins in most places in the United States



The Christian lives under the interior law of liberty, which is a permanent call to us to turn away from self-sufficiency to confidence in God and from concern for self to a sincere love of neighbor.

-Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 33 

The fundamental sin is exploitation, whether it be expressed in the domination of male over female, white over black, rich over poor, strong over weak, armed military over unarmed civilians, human beings over nature.  These analogously abusive patterns interlock because they reset on the same base: a structure where an elite insists on its superiority and claims the right to exercise dominative power over all others considered subordinate, for its own benefit. … What is being looked for is not simply the solution to one problem, but an entire shift of world view away from patterns of dominance toward mutually enhancing relationships.

-Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is, 27-28 

We must reject the temptation to offer a privatized and individualistic spirituality which ill accords with the demands of charity, to say nothing of the implications of the Incarnation and, in the last analysis, of  Christianity's eschatological tension. … Here the teaching of the Second Vatican Council is more timely than ever: "The Christian message does not inhibit men and women from building up the world, or make them disinterested in the welfare of their fellow human beings: on the contrary it obliges them more fully to do these very things.”

-Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte

A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a "gift for me". A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy.

-Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte

When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing. 

-Pope Francis, 2014 Message for Lent

Rather than being something we possess and use for own pleasure, Saint Paul reminds us that creation is God’s gift, which reveals to us his loving plan. But when we are self-centered and commit sin, we break our communion with God, and the original beauty of human nature and creation is marred.

-Pope Francis, Audience, 22 February 2017


Thoughts for Your Consideration

Our forty day journey in Lent is like Jesus’ own forty days in the desert. We too are called to confront our temptations – the same temptations as Jesus but in a 21st century garment. We may be tempted to find our salvation in material things alone or in our role as consumers. We may be tempted to find our salvation in celebrity and status and in the adulation and attention of others. We may be tempted to forget the common good. We may be tempted to find our salvation in political power over others and military superiority and a rising stock market. Jesus says no to these temptations. We cannot live by our possessions alone. We will not be fully live by becoming a like “a god.” We will not be saved by exploiting others.

We will be saved by how we engage in healthy community with one another, by how we listen to one another and learn from one another, by how we welcome the poor and homeless, the refugee and the immigrant, by how we care for the creation God has given us to share and respect.

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

Copyright © 2017, Center of Concern.