Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent Year A
Theme: Preparing for Easter
By: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Homily for Sunday March 1 2020
Today is first Sunday in Lent, which began with Ash Wednesday. It is a time that encourages reflection through prayer and repentance of sins ahead of Easter Sunday. Some Christian’s choose to fast by only eating bread and drinking water throughout Lent, while others take meat or fruit out of their diets.
The Church recommends abstaining from meat only on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent, for people over 14 years of age. Abstinence on Fridays during the rest of the year can be replaced by a work of piety or charity.
Abstaining from meat is even for your good health. Eating too much red meat may be harmful to the heart and can increase the risk of some cancers.
At the same time, meat provides many essential nutrients, including protein, iron, vitamins A and B, iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids.
For this reason, if you decide to stop eating meat all together, you should do so with the help of a good nutritionist who can show us what other foods will provide us with the nutrients we need.
Since studies show that reducing our meat consumption can improve our general health, eliminating it from our diet once a week, at least during Lent, and replacing it with vegetables or fish can have a positive effect on our health.
It is also recommended that you give up specific luxuries or habits during Lent rather than fasting completely, which could include not drinking alcohol, or smoking.
In the bible it is noted that after he was baptised, Jesus fasted for forty days and night in the Judean Desert in Israel, during which time he refused the temptation of the devil. His journey is the reason that man Christians decide to fast during the 40 day period to replicate the sacrifices that Jesus made.
Canon 1249 binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
While Canon 250 is the penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent, Canon 1252 binds those who have completed their fourteenth year.
The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
For all other weekdays of Lent, it is strongly recommended that you participate in daily Masses. It is also recommended that you take spiritual studies, beginning with the Scriptures as well as the traditional Lenten Devotions, with sermons, Stations of the Cross, and the rosary, and all the self-denial summed up in the Christian concept of “mortification.”
First reading is taken from Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7, in which God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. The second reading is from Romans 5:12-19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.
The Gospel is from Matthew 4:1-11, in which Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. “Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test. ”Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ