First Sunday Lent

We have just started the special time of Lent. It is a time, when the Church encourages us to seek greater maturity in our spiritual life and in prayer. It is a time to think more of others and also a time for fasting. These are all ways to grow in self-discipline. It is a time which helps us to re-examine our lives. It also gives us the opportunity to reflect on our priorities in life and to see which way we are going. 

Today’s readings have two major themes: baptism and temptation.

Baptism is a covenant – a promise. Each sacrament is a covenant; a covenant between God and us. God always keeps his side of the covenant; God never goes back on his promises. Amongst others, in Baptism, God makes us his children and forgives our sins. We, on the other hand, need to live as true sons and daughters of God. You may reason that, you were too young, no one asked you, if you wanted to be baptised. It is in fact true. Most probably, we too have taken such a decision for our own children. We are called to live as God’s children, every day, everywhere and always. Although we were baptised when still babies, every Sunday, during mass, we proclaim our faith. This is especially true, during each Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. The Church asks us if we would like to renew the baptismal promises made by our parents and godparents, at baptism. We are adults, the choice is now ours, and no one else’s. When we renew the baptismal vows, we proclaim that:

  • we deny temptation and all that originates from the devil
  • we believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
  • we believe that Jesus, the Son of God, became man, and died to save us
  • we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
  • we will commit ourselves to become like Christ
  • we promise to prepare ourselves, so that after our life on earth, we meet God face to face and live with him forever.

We make these promises after Lent; the time, when together with the rest of the Christian community, we commit ourselves to an examination of conscience, so that with the help offered from the Church, we can reconsider our lifestyles and to make the necessary changes, so that we are in line with the will of God, who loves us and who wants all that is good for us.

Will we be tempted? This is a certainty. Even Jesus was tempted. Jesus overcame these temptations fortified by the Word of God, prayer and the assistance of the angels. This same help, is there, for us too.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark (Mk 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 fulfilment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent and believe in the gospel.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Discuss how you are going to live this lent together as a family. Take care that what is decided upon is suitable, so each member can commit himself/herself to these undertakings. Allow the children to express themselves and come up with their own ideas.
    Remind each other about the commitment you made and support each other. Do not forget to plan how you will be celebrating Easter Day.
  4. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare:
    i. The Bible reading from St Mark 1, 12-15);
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with purple cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  5. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  6. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  7. Be creative 😊
  8. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family

We have just started Lent. Do you know, why this is a special time? It is 40 days long. The number 40 is also mentioned in today’s Gospel.

  • My Guardian Angel helps me to make good choices
  • Angel printouts
  • Pencils
  • Colours 
  • Pictures of the Judean desert

Where did Jesus go? (in the desert)

What is a desert? (a place where there are no houses, there is no one else around, there are no shops, there are no plants and trees. Note to parents: find pictures of the Judean desert and show them to the children)

How long did Jesus stay in the desert? (40 days)

What do you think, Jesus did during this time? (there are no right or wrong answers, allow the children to use their imagination)

When Jesus was in the desert, he prayed. He prayed for a long time, he was tired and he was also hungry and thirsty. When Jesus was not at his best, the devil tempted him to do things which would not have pleased God. But do you know what happened? Although Jesus was tired, hungry, and thirsty, he remained strong in saying no to the devil. Do you know what kept him so strong?

During all those days in the desert, Jesus prayed. The angels comforted him in his battle with the evil spirits. After beating the devil, by telling him, that he was not ready to do as he was asking him, Jesus went to the villages, where there were many people. Now he was well prepared to speak to everyone and tell them how much God loved them.

Jesus does not want us to live in a desert! He does not want us to stay without food and drink, either! However, Jesus teaches us that to be strong and to be able to choose what is right, we need to pray every day and make sacrifices through which we learn to control ourselves.

Would you like to do what Jesus did?

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. Lent is also 40 days long. So, each day, during Lent, remind mummy and daddy, and pray together, or read a story from the Bible.

When Jesus was in the desert, the angels accompanied him. Do you know that Jesus has given you a special angel to take care of you and to help you to make the right choices?

The devil tried to tempt Jesus to do things which would not have pleased God. Do you sometimes choose to do things which would not please Jesus? Like for example, telling a lie, or disobeying mummy or daddy, or you break something on purpose, just because you are angry.

In today’s activity, we are going to ask our special angel to help us.

Note to parents: help the children remember what they might have done wrong during the last few days. Give them time to think it out on their own. If they cannot do it on their own, help them to remember. On the angel printouts (allow the children to choose the boy or girl angel) help them to draw or write this situation, when they chose to do wrong. A couple of Sundays ago, you helped the children to set up a prayer corner. They may put this drawing on this table.

Sign of the cross.

Together say the Guardian Angel prayer

Listen to and sing, My Guardian Angel.

In today’s Gospel, we will see that the devil tried to tempt even Jesus.

  • The word Gospel, means Good News
  • Jesus shows us that prayer gives us the strength to say no to temptations
  • To repent means to live as God wishes

  • The t-shirt printout, or else a t-shirt you can write and draw on
  • Colours and decorations

Today we heard how Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days. When these days were over, the devil tried to tempt him but Jesus did not fall for these temptations. He then went to preach the Gospel. The word Gospel means good news. If Jesus lived today, how would he preach the good news? (newspapers, social media, television, meeting with people)

In Jesus’s time, these means of communication did not exist. The only way that Jesus could bring the good news to the people, was by going from one village to another, gather the people around him and teach them. Moreover, he would go to the Synagogue and teach over there. Today, Jesus tells us: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

When we repent, we do not continue to do whatever we feel like. Instead, we do what God wishes from us. God loves us so much that he also showed us how he would like us to live. Jesus became man to show us how to live. To know how Jesus lived, we need to listen to and read the Gospel. It is not easy to live in the way God wants us to. It was not easy for Jesus either. Jesus did this because he preserved his strength, as a human person like us (except for sin), through prayer. Do you remember last week’s reading? Even then, we heard about how Jesus went to pray.

Lent helps us remember how God wishes us to live: we pray, we help others, we fast. Fasting is giving up something which we enjoy. It could be food or leisure time. When we manage to give up these things, we would be training ourselves to say no, to sin. This is what Jesus managed to do in the desert!

Apart from repenting, we also need to believe the Good News. However, before believing it, we first must know what is, this, Good News! We find this in the Bible. Although the means of communication today, are quite different from those when Jesus lived, the Good News remains the same: God loves us, God is good and merciful, God forgives us, God sent his son Jesus, to show us how to live and to save us. 

Adverts and slogans written on walls or on clothes, are also a means of passing on a message. Today, Jesus wants you to give this Good News to others. If you have a t-shirt and you can write on it, use this, or else, use the t-shirt printout. On the t-shirt write a slogan to convey the Good News to whoever reads it. When ready, you may decorate the t-shirt. Take care that the words are still clear and not hidden by the decorations. Would you like to share this Good News with others, the way Jesus wishes you to? Send a photo or picture of this t-shirt to (please insert link or email address) and in this way you will be communicating this message with others too.

While doing the t-shirt listen to the song Jesus is the good news.

Sign of the cross.

Jesus, you want us to share the Good News with others. Help us not to be shy to pray in front of others, to choose what is right, and to have the courage to talk about you with our friends. Help us, so that during Lent, we get to know you better, to love and help others, like you want us to. Amen.

1. Today's Gospel narrates that the Spirit drove Jesus out into....

Correct! Wrong!

2. How many days did Jesus spend in the desert?

Correct! Wrong!

3. During these days, Jesus was tempted by someone. Who was he?

Correct! Wrong!

4. What was Jesus' appeal to those who listened to him while he preached the Good News?

Correct! Wrong!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.