In the Cycle of Sunday Readings, the oldest are those of Year A in Lent these Gospels have accompanied the Church for many centuries. We must realise why: Lent was originally the time of immediate preparation of candidates for Baptism at Easter (something which has been reintroduced to the Church by RCIA): those already baptised used it as a time to prepare for the renewal of Baptismal promises. This is why so much of the Scripture in Lent is about Baptism, New Life and Salvation. What is the new life of Baptism? What are we set free from? What is sin? We begin Lent by hearing about sin and temptation; the Gospel will tell us of Jesus’ own temptations, something he shares with us, though he did not sin. The other Scripture readings prepare us for the Gospel, in which Jesus, the new Adam, triumphs over temptation.
1st Reading : Genesis 2: 7-9; 3: 1-7
2nd Reading: Romans 5: 12-19
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. My offences truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me Do not cast me away from your presence , or deprive me of your holy spirit. Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervour sustain me. O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise.