The First Sunday of Lent


The First Sunday of Lent

The church environment will look different today with purple vestments and hangings replacing the green ones of Ordinary Time. It seems to catch us unawares when Lent begins in February as it does this year, especially with Easter having fallen so late last year.
The Prefaces for the first two Sundays of Lent connect with the Gospel readings of the day, the Temptation and the Transfiguration of the Lord respectively.
The new wording of the Preface for the First Sunday of Lent is:
By abstaining forty long days from earthly food,
he consecrated through his fast the pattern of our Lenten observance
and, by overturning all the snares of the ancient serpent,
taught us to cast out the leaven of malice,
so that, celebrating worthily the Paschal Mystery,
we might pass over at last to the eternal paschal feast.

And the revised Preface for the Second Sunday of Lent reads:

For after he had told the disciples of his coming Death,
on the holy mountain he manifested to them his glory,
to show, even by the testimony of the law and the prophets,
that the Passion leads to the glory of the Resurrection.

The Missal provides Prayers over the People for each Sunday of Lent which serve to send the faithful out into the world strengthened for their Lenten journey:
May bountiful blessing, O Lord, we pray,
come down upon your people,
that hope may grow in tribulation,
virtue be strengthened in temptation,
and eternal redemption be assured. (First Sunday of Lent)

Bless your faithful, we pray, O Lord,
with a blessing that endures for ever,
and keep them faithful to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son,
so that they may always desire and at last attain
that glory whose beauty he showed in his own Body,
to the amazement of his Apostles. (Second Sunday of Lent)

On the first Sunday of Lent, those catechumens (people who are not already baptised) who will be initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil celebrate the rite of Election or Enrolment of Names. This afternoon, catechumens in dioceses in all parts of Australia and around the world will gather in their cathedral churches with godparents, sponsors, families and friends, parish clergy and RCIA teams to celebrate this special liturgy under the leadership of the bishop.
We pray for all those who today take the next step on their journey to initiation at the Easter ceremonies and for those who are journeying with them.

Elizabeth Harrington