The Lord's Day At Home

If you are housebound or self-isolating at this time, please use these prayers to unite yourself with the worship of the Universal Church, and your own Parish, this Sunday. If alone, read or say these prayers quietly to yourself. If with another, or in a family, someone should read the Gospel, and others respond. It might be suitable to find a special, quiet place at home for your Sunday prayers.

Gospel Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him. After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

Reflection

Every year on this First Sunday of Lent we hear of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness: before he begins his ministry, he chooses to go into a place of silence and emptiness to face his temptations. It might surprise us that Jesus would be tempted, but temptation is not the same as sin! In fact, honestly facing temptation is necessary in order to avoid sin. Saint Mark doesn’t go into too much detail today – the other Gospels give us more, specifically letting us know what temptations Jesus faced. They were all about the abuse of his power: he could work miracles, and is tempted to use that power selfishly; he is even tempted to worldly prestige, though this would mean surrendering himself to the worship of Satan. To all of these Jesus says a firm “No.” This is not who he is. But those temptations were real! We are invited to enter our “forty days” by facing our temptations. When do we hear a little voice in our heads saying “Go on, there’s no harm in it! It’s not that bad! No one will find out”? Will we say “No” like Jesus did? Perhaps we have to find a little bit of wilderness – a place of peace and quiet so that we can face down our “Inner voices” and ensure that we have the strength to say “No” to our temptations.