Catechism Conection
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1st Sunday of Lent Cycle A 2017

Catechism Connections
First Sunday of Lent  Cycle A
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Psalm 51:3-6, 12-13, 17; Romans 5:12-19; 
Matthew 4:1-11
 
This weekend, we continue our Lenten journey that began on Ash Wednesday.  We hear of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, when he allowed his human nature to be tempted like ours, but then how he overcame those temptations by surrendering himself to his Father’s help in the form of grace.  Psalm 51, the classical psalm of penitence which we sing often throughout this Lenten season, begs God to have mercy on us, the sinners, to wash away our guilt and sins, and to give us back a clean heart with which to offer praise.  In The Catechism of the Catholic Church, we are reminded that Lent is about conversion, about turning back to God and begging for God’s grace to overcome those temptations in our lives that would lead us to the brink of sin.  Instead,  we learn that God’s grace is there for the asking.  Following Jesus’ lead, we have only to surrender our wills to the grace of God.  Paragraph 1428 in the CCC describes this, our second conversion, as the task of the whole Church.  In the Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium, one of the two documents on the Church from that council, it tells us that “the church is always in need of reform”.  All its members constantly need to move toward penance and renewal, but it starts with the individual contrite heart and God’s grace.  And it is a cooperative work.  Each of us builds up the Church with our responses to God’s grace, but each of us also can tear it down with our sins.   Paragraph 1428 reminds us that God is behind the movement of our hearts toward contrition.  We have only to allow God entrance to our often broken lives. 
 
From the Catechism: 
 
1428Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians.  This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” (Lumen Gentium)  This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work.  It is a movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.