Sunday, February 18
First Sunday of Lent
Mark 1: 12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The familiar ritual of Ash Wednesday involves both a symbol and a word. As the sacramental of the blessed ashes is traced upon the forehead, the Church instructs the minister to say one of two possible formulas: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
The first formula is taken from the words that God pronounced to the disobedient Adam and Eve before they were cast out of Paradise: “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The second formula is taken from today’s Gospel, as Jesus begins to proclaim the Good News. The time of fulfillment has come; the descendants of Adam and Eve will soon be freed from their mortal curse by repenting and believing in the Christ.
Lent begins with the words of the Fall and the Redemption, reminding us simultaneously of Death and Resurrection. It is a paradox that is only understood, only fully resolved, when at the Easter Vigil the deacon chants that most curious of Christian statements: “O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”
Father Matthew Morris
OPERATION RICE BOWL STORIES OF HOPE: WEEK 1
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Jesus reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. That means that every human being has a special value and a purpose. We need to care for each other so we can be the people God calls us to be.
Eight-year-old Majd thought his family was going on a picnic. His mother, Lamya, said they would be back home in a week. But when ISIS attacked their home in northern Iraq, the family fled for good.
“What worried me the most were the kids,” Lamya says. “Our life was stable and we were doing well; we had a very big house. Our children had everything they needed. But when we fled, I was not able to bring anything for them-not even food.”
Fortunately, the family found an apartment to rent with other displaced families. It is much smaller than the home they had, but it’s safer. The children enrolled in a CRS-sponsored school, where the routine provides hope, stability and a sense of belonging. “Education is very important,” says Lamya, especially in Iraqi culture.
Lamya received training from CRS and became a teacher at the school. Now she has hope for the future. “I really love children, so when I go to class I feel like I am with my family,” she says.
Her son, Majd, also loves going to school. “Majd is so motivated to go to school. He just wants it to be morning so he can go,” Lamya says. “He is relaxed, having fun and more confident.” For Majd, school means a normal life-now and in the future.