Let us pray.
walk with us as we journey through Lent.
Help us to grow closer to you.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Opening Life Reflection
Today is the First Sunday of Lent and we begin a journey of preparation for Easter. Begin the session with a journey to Easter activity. Provide each child with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Explain that during Lent we examine our lives and make choices to follow Jesus more closely. Invite the children to reflect on how they can follow Jesus more closely by loving God and one another.
Brainstorm with the children ways that they can follow Jesus more closely and write down their responses. Invite the children to use the paper provided to map out their journey to Easter. Have them begin with the First Sunday of Lent, and then mark a route toward Easter with signs along the way that show how they will follow Jesus.
Allow time for discussion. As we journey toward Easter, Lent is a time to follow Jesus in all we say and do.
Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to how God’s Chosen People show gratitude and praise.
Read Deuteronomy 26:4-10.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- How were the people of God treated in Egypt?
- How did God respond to the prayers of the Chosen People?
- How did the people show God they were grateful?
In the today’s Gospel Jesus is goes into the wilderness for forty days. Listen to how he is tempted by the devil.
Read Luke 4:1-13.
Allow for silence.
- How is Jesus tempted by the devil?
- What does the devil offer Jesus?
- How does Jesus respond to the temptations in the wilderness?
- Where does Jesus find his strength?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
The books of the Old Testament often deal with God’s relationship with the Chosen People of Israel. The Chosen People understand that they are God’s elect, not because they have earned God’s favor, but because God has always been faithful to them.
In the first reading from the Old Testament the people of Israel show their gratitude to God. They bring the first fruits of their harvest to the Lord. God’s Chosen People offer thanks and praise to the One God who is always faithful to them.
In the Gospel Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for forty days. While he is there, Jesus is tempted by the devil. Luke describes the temptations as the three most alluring temptations of his day: love of pleasure, love of riches, and love of power. Jesus resists the devil, which gives witness to how followers of Christ are to deal with temptation.
Today’s Gospel reading also has Jewish roots. The Israelites wandered forty years in the desert after God delivered them from Egypt. They were tested with hunger, the lure of false Gods, and the temptation to test God. Jesus experienced the very same temptations and, unlike many of the Israelites before him, he was able to respond to each of them out of faithfulness to God. Jesus relies completely on God when confronted with temptation and in doing so he reverses the human infidelity of past history.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- What temptations keep you from loving God and others?
- When is it most difficult to stand up against temptation?
- How can God help you to stand up against temptation?
[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
It is our Catholic understanding that when it comes to being God’s Chosen People, it is God who does the choosing. The choosing comes about because God is totally faithful and generous in love.
The Old Testament reveals that the people of Israel are chosen to be God’s elect. God does not abandon the Chosen People even when they turn away from God. The purpose of this divine election is to reveal the power and glory of God to the world.
The New Testament scriptures reveal that Jesus is God’s elect. Jesus exemplifies for us the right response to God’s call. Catholic teaching emphasizes that through Jesus, the Church inherits Israel’s election. The Jewish people are regarded as “chosen,” however divine election and grace are available in a new way to all believers by the coming of Christ.
- Explain how God has shown you love and faithfulness.
- Explain how you show God your love and faithfulness.
- How do you give thanks to God?
The Gospel in Life
How can your words and actions this week help you to get ready for Easter?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 26
Grade 4, page 251 parish and page 359 school, and chapter 20
Grade 5, page 251 parish and page 359 school, and chapter 12
Grade 6, page 251 parish and page 359 school, and chapter 6
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 20
Grade 5, chapter 17
Grade 6, chapter 17