First Sunday in Lent, Year A, 26th February 2023

A pure heart create for me, O God

This week we begin our annual observance of Lent. We may want to consider: ‘How am I to celebrate this season in 2023?’

The word ‘Lent’ comes from the Old English word lencten meaning spring-time or ‘the lengthening of days’; it is a time of renewal, of coming back to life in nature; a time for the birth of young animals, and of looking forward. In keeping with the season, our Lent can be one of invitation to our own renewal in the ways of living with and for God; a time to recognise the love of God made visible to us in creation; a time to notice those ways in which we fall short of the desires that God has for each one of us and for our world, and to pray for the grace to live more fully according to God’s ways.

We are familiar with ‘giving up for Lent’: perhaps this year our ‘giving up’ may be of those things in our lives that are getting in the way of valuing all that God has given us, of allowing God to deepen God’s life in us. It may help to take time to notice and to speak with our Lord about what this means for me.

The readings speak of our choice to listen to the voice of God or to be tempted by evil: Adam and Eve are seen to succumb to the tempting voice, but Jesus is steadfast in his rejection of temptation. The Psalm is a prayer of one who knows their own sinfulness, but also that God’s love and mercy are more powerful than their weakness. St Paul celebrates the freedom from sin that Jesus brings us. Jesus’s gift of love overcomes our sin and brings us to life.

Through our Lent, we ask for the grace to become more and more aware of God’s compassion and love for us, ready to journey with Jesus to his death on the cross and to celebrate his resurrection.