March-1 FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
GENESIS 2:15-17; 3:1-7; PSALM 32; ROMANS 5:12-19; MATTHEW 4:1-11.
Today’s gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. His forty-day fast becomes the basis of our Lenten pilgrimage. In the early church Lent was a time of intense preparation for those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. This catechetical focus on the meaning of faith is at the heart of our Lenten journey to the baptismal waters of Easter. Hungry for God’s mercy, we receive the bread of life to nourish us for the days ahead.
March-7-8 SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT
GENESIS 12:1-4a; PSALM 121; ROMANS 4:1-5, 13-17; JOHN 3:1-17.
During Lent we journey with all those around the world who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. In today’s gospel Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of water and Spirit. At the font we are a given a new birth as children of God. As God made a covenant with Abraham, in baptism God promises to raise us up with Christ to new life. From worship we are sent forth to proclaim God’s love for all the world.
March 14-15 THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT
EXODUS 17:1-7; PSALM 95; ROMANS 5:1-11; JOHN 4:5-42.
In today’s gospel the Samaritan woman asks Jesus for water, an image of our thirst for God. Jesus offers living water, a sign of God’s grace flowing from the waters of baptism. The early church used this gospel and those of the next two Sundays to deepen baptismal reflection during the final days of preparation before baptism at Easter. As we journey to the resurrection feast, Christ comes among us in word, bath, and meal—offering us the life-giving water of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
March 21-22 FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
1 SAMUEL 16:1-13; PSALM 23; EPHESIANS 5:8-14; JOHN 9:1-41.
Baptism is sometimes called enlightenment. The gospel for this Sunday is the story of the man born blind healed by Christ. “I was blind, now I see,” declares the man. In baptism God opens our eyes to see the truth of who we are: God’s beloved children. As David was anointed king of Israel, in baptism God anoints our head with oil, and calls us to bear witness to the light of Christ in our daily lives.
March 28-29 FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT
EZEKIEL 37:1-14; PSALM 130; ROMANS 8:6-11; JOHN 11:1-45.
In today’s gospel Jesus reveals his power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead. The prophet Ezekiel prophesies God breathing new life into dry bones. To those in exile or living in the shadows of death, these stories proclaim God’s promise of resurrection. In baptism we die with Christ that we might also be raised with him to new life. At the Easter Vigil we will welcome the newly baptized as we remember God’s unfailing promise in our baptism.