It’s Lent! Our time to travel into the desert with Jesus—to be tempted and to triumph.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
In today’s readings, we hear of God’s care for us and how, when we respond in faith to times of difficulty, that God saves us.
The first Sunday of Lent is always the story of Jesus’ forty days in the desert. It says that he was “led by the Spirit” into the desert “to be tempted by the devil.” Why would the Spirit of God ever lead us to where we would find temptation?
Temptation is everywhere. It’s our human condition that gives it any power. But, God leads us in all things, and so is always with us helping us to make right choices in any situation that we allow the help. Whenever we make sacrifices like giving something up for Lent, doing something nice for someone else—temptation is always right there. It can be the temptation to fudge it, or to lord our kindness over someone else, to judge them for needing our kindness, to think how great we are for the good thing that we did. That was Jesus’ temptation, too—he knew he was going to have to make many sacrifices in his ministry, including his life. He used his time in the desert to show that whatever he was called to do would not be clouded with fear for his needs not being met, a hunger for authority, or a lack of trust in God’s care. We need to do this, too.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
How do you deal with temptation? Do you find it hard to resist? What could help you to get away from temptation when it shows up?
Did you ever think of Jesus actually being tempted? The Scriptures say that he was. Jesus knows what every aspect of our lives are like—including what temptation feels like. We hear it echoed in the Garden of Gethsemane on Holy Thursday when he asked to not have to be crucified. You are never alone in your temptation. What is one thing that you can ask Jesus to help you with this Lent?
This week, take special time to notice your feelings and reactions when you do something for someone else. Do you lord it over them? Do you judge them? A prayer that can bring a lot of clarity on these things is The Examine. It takes 15 minutes a day and is life-changing. Check it out here: The Examen. It might be something you can introduce to your family prayer time this Lent.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”