Saturday, February 6, 2016

First Sunday in Lent

 Year C

First Sunday in Lent


Our baptismal promises

Points to note

Lent is a busy season when we prepare to accompany Jesus in his final days in Holy Week as well as to prepare ourselves for the great festival of Easter. One of the many things that happen during Lent is the final preparation of catechumens for their baptism during Easter Vigil mass, when they make their baptismal vows.   But it isn’t for them alone.  Those of us who have been baptised also have to prepare like they do, to renew our own baptismal vows, albeit not so intense. Other aspects of Lent are covered in Lent 1 of Years A & B. 


Acclamation before the Gospel

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!


Discuss with the children about the new season of the Christian calendar that we are entering.  This is available in the end panel of this leaflet & for a more complete explanation, at Soundbites about Lent and Easter

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
(Lk 4:1-13)
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days.  During that time, he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry.  Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.”  But, Jesus replied, “Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.”

Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, “I will give you all this power and the glory of all these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose.  Worship me, then, it shall all be yours.”  But Jesus answered him,” Scripture says:
You must worship the Lord your God
And serve him alone.”

Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple.  “If you are the Son of God,” he said to him, “throw yourself down from here, for scriptures says:
He will put his angels in charge of you to guard you,

and again:
They will hold you up on their hands
in case you hurt your foot against a stone.”

But Jesus answered him, “It has been said:
You must not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Baptismal Vows
Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God? R. I do.
Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you? R. I do.
Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? R. I do.
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth? R. I do.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father? R. I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? R. I do.
And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life.
 Having exhausted all these ways of testing him, the devil left him to return at the appointed time.

This is the Gospel of the Lord


This discussion should be kept short as the bulk of the discussion takes place before the reading.

Discuss the reading and bring out again interesting parts of the story:
·     After his baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness to pray.
·    In the wilderness, he fasted.  Discuss about people who fasted to help them in their prayer.  Fasting is a reminder of our sacrifice.
·     Jesus was tempted when he fasted.  We, too, will be tempted when we fast.  We, too, will be tempted when we try to keep to our sacrifices.

Explain that during Lent, there are people called catechumens who are preparing to be baptised at the Easter midnight mass, during which they make their baptismal vows before they can get baptised.
If there is time, you may want to go through the baptismal vows, which we will be renewing at the same mass but do not do the response – that is reserved for the Easter Vigil mass.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is celebrated in many formerly French areas (famously in New Orleans, USA).  It refers to people gorging themselves on Tuesday before starting their fasts on Ash Wednesday.  Other than fasting and abstaining as described earlier, we also go to for mass on Ash Wednesday.  It is very much a normal mass, but we also receive ashes on our forehead to remind ourselves of the dust and ashes from which we came and to which we will return.  These ashes are available to everyone, including non-Catholics, and comes from burning the palms used in the previous year's Palm Sunday.
The liturgical colour for Lent, like Advent, is purple, being the colour of preparation.  The exception is the fourth Sunday in Lent, where churches are allowed to use pink.  This Sunday is know as Laetare Sunday (Latin for Joyful Sunday), and it is the Church's way of giving us a breather half-way through a long penitential season.
Palm Sunday is the sixth and the last Sunday in Lent.  It commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey, welcomed by the people waving palm leaves.  Traditionally, Middle Eastern people greet conquerors by waving palm leaves and paving their way with palm leaves.  I remember scenes of people waving palm leaves when US troops entered Iraq.
Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday until Holy Saturday, and has been celebrated as a single week since the third century.  As the most important week in the Church's calendar, all days of the week are called Holy: Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, etc.  There are no closing hymns at mass on all days of Holy Week as all masses in Holy Week are considered as part of a single celebration.
On Wednesday, at a mass known as Chrism Mass, all priests in the diocese will meet up for mass at the cathedral with their bishop.  This denotes the unity of the diocese.  At this mass, the bishop blesses the oils, which will be used by all priests all over the diocese for the anointing during baptism (Oil of Catechumens), during confirmation (Chrism Oil) and during anointing of the sick.
During Holy Week, all statues (and in England, pictures as well) are veiled with purple cloths to commemorate Jesus being hidden away after his burial until his resurrection.  Crosses are unveiled after Good Friday services while other veils are removed later but before the Easter Vigil.
The Easter Triduum (Latin for three days) refers to the triple mass celebrations of Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil (the midnight mass) and Easter Sunday.  No, Good Friday is not part of the Easter Triduum as it is not a mass.  And, yes Easter Sunday mass is a different mass from the midnight mass and we should be attending them both: they are not substitute for each other.

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