First Sunday in Lent

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I Confess:

 

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

Opening Prayer:

 

Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15

 

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

 

Responsorial:
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep your covenant
 
Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my saviour.
 
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep your covenant
 
Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord.
 
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep your covenant
 
The Lord is good and upright. He shows the path to those who stray,
he guides the humble in the right path; he teaches his way to the poor.
 
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep your covenant

 

Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

 

Verse Before the Gospel:

 

Glory and Praise to you O Christ.

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Glory and Praise to you O Christ.

 

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the desert. He was in the desert forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

 

Homily:

Let us reflect together on the responsorial psalm for this weekend. In life we all want to remember something and do not want remember few things. We want to be remembered at least for few things and not to be remembered for many things. This theme of remembering also has a very important role in the scripture. We find this in the responsorial psalm we recited.

Let us get back to the psalm. This psalm is attributed to king David, who prays to God for something personal. His prayer is not for power, glory, prosperity or victory in war. He is concerned much more important than that. “O Lord show me Your ways, and teach me Your paths.” I want to know you and I want to know the road that you want me to walk on. I don’t know which path to take on. Some paths are narrow and some are broad and I do not know which is the correct path. Please teach me and guide me on the path that is right and just. He is praying that God will instruct him with His commandment so that he may walk on them cheerfully. He says, if left to myself, I will at once turn aside to the right or to the left, deserting the path of your commandments, on account of the prosperity or the adversity of this world: can you, therefore, take me by the hand, and direct me by the help of your grace in the right path. It is something which only You can do to me and no one else can. When we are faced with such predicaments may we have the courage to ask for divine help: to know the right path and to walk on it cheerfully. Often the right path may not be easy and smooth. It could be narrow, rough and we may have to walk alone at times, but we must be consoled that we are on the path that is right and just.

Now, David places a kind of double-sided petition to God. “Remember me in your compassion and in kindness” You were compassionate “from eternity,” and not only compassionate, but in the habit of showing mercy; and, therefore, mercy is Your distinguishing, as well as Your natural, tendency. Remember me in your kindness and in mercy but forget my sins. “Do not remember my offences and of my ignorance.” He places forgetfulness in beautiful opposition to remembrance. The offences of my presumptuous boldness and of my ignorance reserve not for vengeance, but let them be as if forgotten by You. He pleads, O God, I want you to remember how merciful and kind You are but forget the follies of my past. I want to remember your mercy and so I want You to forget my offences. To ask for such mercy one must be courageous enough to come up to Him and say, “Forgive me.” This is what we do every time we open up our hearts and raise our eyes towards God. We want to remember His mercy and we want Him to forget out guilt. We should also remember to show compassion and love to each other as children of God, through the traditions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving of Lent and overlook the offence we have caused each other.

Having known the right path and having tasted God’s mercy and not His vengeance the person is able to walk on the right path. It is to those who are humble alone His ways are shown. The grace of God, first softens and subdues the proud and the obstinate, and when thus humbled and contrite, “It guides them in judgment,” and “teaches them his ways.” This is what the season of lent is all about.

 

Nicene Creed:

 

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

Prayers of Faithful:

For the Church: that the Spirit may lead us during this Lenten season to a fuller living of the Gospel, steadfast faithfulness to our baptismal commitment, and generous service to those in need.

 Lord Hear Us

We pray for those who hold positions of authority in our country and in the world, that they may be mindful of the needs and dignity of all and work to make our world a place of fairness, honesty and peace.

Lord Hear Us

For all gathered here – that we enter deeply into the Lenten call to prayer, fasting and works of charity

Lord Hear Us

For grace to resist temptation: that God will help us recognize the hollowness of the fruits of temptation and help us to live faithfully as the daughters and sons whom God has made us to be.

Lord Hear Us

For catechumens – that they will be supported, encouraged and affirmed by their faith communities as they make the journey towards the new light of Easter.

Lord Hear Us

That those suffer from illness may be healed and that those who have died may rest in the loving presence of the saints and angels.

 

Lord Hear Us

 

Prayer of Spiritual Communion: (St. Alphonsus)

 

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if you were already

there, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.

 

Concluding Prayer:

 

Renewed now with heavenly bread, by which faith is nourished, hope increased, and charity strengthened, we pray, O Lord, that we may learn to hunger for Christ, the true and living Bread, and strive to live by every word which proceeds from your mouth. Through Christ our Lord.