Liturgy of the Sunday

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First Sunday of Lent
Memorial of Saint Peter Damian (+1072). Faithful to his monastic vocation, he loved the entire Church and spent his life reforming it. Memory of the monks in every part of the world.


First Reading

Genesis 9,8-15

God spoke as follows to Noah and his sons, 'I am now establishing my covenant with you and with your descendants to come, and with every living creature that was with you: birds, cattle and every wild animal with you; everything that came out of the ark, every living thing on earth. And I shall maintain my covenant with you: that never again shall all living things be destroyed by the waters of a flood, nor shall there ever again be a flood to devastate the earth.' 'And this', God said, 'is the sign of the covenant which I now make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I now set my bow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I shall recall the covenant between myself and you and every living creature, in a word all living things, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all living things.

Psalmody

Psalm 24

Antiphon

Lord, remember your great mercy and love.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
I trust you, let me not be disappointed;
do not let my enemies triumph.

Those who hope in you shall not be disappointed,
but only those who wantonly break faith.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.

Make me walk in your truth and teach me;
for you are God my saviour.
In you I hope all day long

Remember your mercy, Lord.,
and the love you have shown of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth.
In your love remember me
because of your goodness, O Lord.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,

He guides the humble in the right path;
He teaches his ways to the poor.

His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and will.

Lord, for the sake of your name
forgive my guilt; for it is great.

If anyone fears the Lord
he will show him the path he should choose.

His soul shall live in happiness
and his children shall possess the land.

The Lord's friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.

My eyes are always on the Lord;
for he rescues my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and have mercy
for I am lonely and poor.

Relieve the anguish of my heart
and set me free from my distress.

See my affliction and my toil
and take all my sins away.

See how many are my foes;
how violent their hatred for me.

Preserve my life and rescue me.
Do not disappoint me, you are my refuge.

May innocence and uprightness protect me :
for my hope is in you, O Lord.

Redeem Israel, O God,
from all its distress.

Second Reading

1 Peter 3,18-22

Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. They refused to believe long ago, while God patiently waited to receive them, in Noah's time when the ark was being built. In it only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water. It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now -- not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God's right hand, with angels, ruling forces and powers subject to him.

Reading of the Gospel

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Mark 1,12-15

And at once the Spirit drove him into the desert and he remained there for forty days, and was put to the test by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels looked after him. After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the gospel from God saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.'

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Homily

Wednesday, we began Lent; after receiving the ashes on our head, while we were told: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return," we started together our pilgrimage towards Easter. It is a time that involves everyone personally but in the awareness that we are part of a people who walk together. The bible page that immediately follows the narration of the end of the flood announced by the dove with the olive branch, narrates the appearance of a rainbow that acts as a bridge between earth and sky. And God himself gives the interpretation: " It shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. " A sign of a perennial covenant that God puts for Himself: "When ... the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant," as well as for the peoples of the earth, so that when they see it they will remember the covenant made with God. These forty days of Lent also remind us of the covenant that God has made with his people and with all the peoples of the earth. Twenty-two times in the New Testament, the forty days are remembered as a symbol of the entire life of believers. And the very brief Gospel narrative of Mark illuminates its meaning. The evangelist begins by noting that "the Spirit drove him out into the desert," not so much in the sense that Jesus was pushed to withdraw to a desert land to be alone and do penance, but rather in the sense of letting himself be guided by the Spirit and enter the world reduced by Satan to a desert of life and love.
The evangelist Mark - unlike the other two synoptics - does not stop to recount the temptations, rather he emphasizes that Jesus in the desert has already overcome evil and defeated the prince of darkness. This is why he describes the forty days as a time in which he dwells peacefully among wild beasts while the angels serve him for all forty days. Therefore Jesus immediately announces in his preaching that the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus exhorts us, "Believe in the good news." To believe in the good news means to entrust oneself to the love of the Father who embraces the Son and cloths him with His forgiveness, without merits, without atonement, only because he has returned to Him. Believing in the Gospel means that that word is the way to peace, and that the world can change. Believing the Gospel means believing in the power of prayer. In this time of Lent, let us open the Gospel frequently, let us silence our reasons and listen to the Word of God; let us invoke the Lord together with the sick, the suffering, those who are affected by evil. In this way we will discover again the covenant of love that the Lord has established with us. The Lord has given the earth to men and women, but has admonished them to respect the life of human beings and their blood, so that no one would live not caring for the life of another. God's command is against violence. The person who converts, who becomes peaceful, rebuilds this covenant. In the depths of the human heart there is a desire for peace. Lent is the opportune time to find in our heart and in the heart of our neighbour the rainbow of peace, so that the flood of violence may end. And may the many who scrutinize the heavens begging for help and protection and who ask for peace and hope, see soon that rainbow that starts from our hearts to rest on those who welcome peace.