"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
Jesus’ temptations in the desert
• Deuteronomy 26:4-10
• Psalm 91:1-2, 10-15
• Romans 10:8-13
• Luke 4:1-13
Synopsis: The first Sunday of Lent always includes the story of Jesus’ temptation. The 40 days of Lent are meant to remind us of his time in the desert. It’s also meant to remind us of the Exodus and Israel’s journey in the wilderness. At crucial points in her history Israel didn’t trust God and fell into sin. Jesus symbolically relives those events in order to do what Israel failed to do. In this week’s first reading Moses recalls for the people how their forefather Jacob (“a wandering Aramean”) had gone down to Egypt centuries ago. His descendents multiplied and became exceedingly numerous. Eventually they were enslaved and cruelly treated by the Egyptians. God saw their affliction, took pity and delivered them from their oppression, then for 40 years they, like Jacob before them, wandered in the desert until they arrived at the Promised Land, a land “flowing with milk and honey.” This passage later became a kind of creed the people would recite each year as they offered the first fruits of the land in commemoration of all that God had done for them.
Pope Benedict XVI: “The Apostles’ Creed speaks of Jesus’ descent ‘into hell.’ This descent not only took place in and after his death, but accompanies him along his entire journey. He must recapitulate the whole of history from its beginnings—from Adam on; he must go through, suffer through, the whole of it, in order to transform it” (“Jesus of Nazareth”).
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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