Electronic Prayer Book

First Sunday in Lent


Christ, the new Adam, triumphant over temptation,
treads underfoot the serpent which deceived our first parents; and the angels come to minister to Him.

The scene of the temptation which opens the public life of Jesus, declares in the Gospels in very forceful manner the great change in our lives that He introduces into the world by His work of redemption. Where Adam fell, Christ, the new Head of humanity, triumphs over the power of Satan: at the time of His passion “the prince of this world”, will be cast out. The Gospel of the temptation heralds Christ’s victory in advance.

By appointing this Gospel for the beginning of Lent the Church pro­claims that this victory should be ours also. In us, as all round us, it is Christ’s temptation, Christ’s struggle, Christ’s victory which is prolonged; our effort is His and so is our strength; His will be our victory at Easter. Thus we should enter confidently on the struggle whose course is traced out for us by St. Paul in today’s Epistle. It means a renewal of our whole life as Christians. We should be encouraged by the thought that increase of Christian life in each of us is a continuance of Christ’s victory.

The liturgy of Lent is a liturgy of confidence. Psalm 90, pre-eminently the Psalm of trust in God, furnishes several of the chants of today’s Mass. The days of Lent are days of salvation; more than any, Lent is the “acceptable time” to amend our lives. The Church emphaises this so that Easter with souls and bodies purified we may celebrate the mystery of the passion and resurrection of the Lord.