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.
First reading: Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7.
Response: Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
Gospel Reading: Matt 4: 1-11