First Sunday of Lent

Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Ps 51; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11 (year a)

 ‘The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.”

The Genesis account of man’s creation and subsequent fall is more than primitive speculation concerning the origins of human life. It is, above all else, our story: a description of our longing to live life in its fullness, and a confession of the sinfulness that frustrates such longing.

On this first Sunday of Lent the Scriptures invite us to pause, to rejoice in the gift of life. The very air that we breathe is a reminder that we are the creation of a loving Father, fully alive only when his Spirit lives and breathes in us.

The narrative of the fall, beyond its seemingly naïve simplicity, mirrors the tragedy of sinful lives. We were made for God and yet there is an insanity that leads us far from his ways. Like the man and woman, we surrender to the superficial attraction of sin. Our deepest instincts tell us what is forbidden, and yet, rather than paying heed, we foolishly make ourselves the arbiters of right and wrong. Experience opens our eyes, and we realise what we have become.

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