Sermon Notes for Homilists and Religion Teachers. Embargo: Catholics are welcome to read after Noon, Sunday


9 March 2003 First Sunday of Lent (B) Mark 1:12-13

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: #1095 "For this reason the Church especially during …Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the ‘today’ of her liturgy." (Emphasis added-ed.)

When I was in grammar school, Lent was a very special time. First of all, the teachers in school would suggest that each of us "give up" something for Lent. Some Lents I gave up candy. Other times, I gave up the Saturday movies. Each Friday at school, we had Stations of the Cross. Our Church was decorated in purple. On Ash Wednesday I got ashes on my forehead and I didn’t wipe them off all day. My parents had to fast each day of Lent except for Sundays. That meant they could only eat one full meal a day for almost forty days. I was happy when Lent was over and I could once again eat candy. But Lent is one of my special childhood memories. I felt that in some small way I shared in the mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. At Easter I felt a very special spiritual happiness.

Although many of these practices have been discontinued or altered, the purpose is the same. The Church wants us to be Jesus’ companions on the journey on the road to Jerusalem. Our Church wants to create a Lenten atmosphere so that our hearts will be ready to receive God’s Easter gifts.

In today’s brief gospel, Mark reminds us of the Exodus. Jesus is "driven out" to the wilderness just as the Israelites were "driven out" of Egypt through the power of God. Jesus spends forty days in the wilderness whereas the Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the wilderness, the Israelites and Jesus were free from worldly distractions. Here the Israelites and Jesus prepared themselves for the conflict against the forces of evil. In the wilderness, God fed his people with manna. Here angels ministered to Jesus providing him with nourishment. In the wilderness the Israelites were tested so they would be steeled for the coming battles when they entered the Promised Land. In the wilderness, the Israelites, formerly a disparate group of slaves, are formed into a community of Faith. In the wilderness Jesus begins the work of universal reconciliation by making the animals his friendly "companions." "The wild beasts were his companions." Upon leaving the wilderness, Jesus immediately begins to form a community by calling his new community: Peter, Andrew, James and John.

Mark reminds the Christian community in Rome that they too need to prepare themselves so that they will be able to face with Jesus the enemy, the "forces of evil", suffering and martyrdom. Like Jesus they need some time to reflect and to steel themselves for the inevitable conflicts.

ST. PATRICK’S COMMUNITY What does today’s passage from Mark mean to us Christians in Lok Fu? This morning I would invite you to create for these coming forty days "a wilderness atmosphere" in St. Patrick’s community, in your family and in each of your daily lives.

You already know the kinds of practices that are appropriate to your needs and the circumstances of your life. You also know which activities are suitable for your family. Daily Mass? Scripture reading? Retreat? Friday stations? Sunday Holy Hour. Family rosary? Giving up a favorite TV program? Reading the life of one of the Saints. Visiting a sick person. Let me give you a couple of minutes for you and your families to talk over how to make this Lent a very special preparation for the celebration of Easter.

[Before Mass prepare two Catholics to respond to the following questions.)

"Mr. Lam Kwok Keung in the back grow on the left side, during Lent what do we wish to create in our St. Patrick’s community?" [Answer: ‘A wilderness atmosphere.’]

"The grandmother in the blue dress behind the organ, during Lent what do we wish to create in your family?" [Answer: ‘A wilderness atmosphere.’]"

[Ask the same two questions after the Last Blessing.]




THEME: Lent is a wilderness experience in which we prepare to accompany Jesus to Jerusalem.

SCRIPTURE: "He was in the wilderness forty days…" Mark 1:12

TARGET CONGREGATION: Principally grandparents and seniors attend this 7:30 a.m. Mass

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: #1095 "For this reason the Church especially during …Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the ‘today’ of her liturgy." (Emphasis added-ed.)

INTRO: Today we begin our Lenten observance. At Baptism we became disciples of Christ intent on following in the path of Jesus. Today the Church directs us to Mark’s gospel: chapter 1: 12-13. During Lent we accompany Jesus into the wilderness to prepare ourselves for the final conflict.

Desired Result: father during the past week, even though i carried on life as usual, i often felt that i was in the wilderness with jesus. my ordinary interests and hobbies somehow seemed less important last week.

TYPE OF HOMILY: We are trying to create an atmosphere of expectancy and possibility so that individuals, families and the community may be moved to make Lenten plans.


9th Sunday B (March 12,00) Mark 1:12-13 Name_____________________

  1. What Old Testament event does Mark refer to? E______?
  2. The wilderness(desert) is the place where Jesus prepares for the b_____ with the forces of _____.
  3. In the wilderness, the Israelites became a u________ c_______.
  4. It is important that we create a Lenten atmosphere in our parish, homes and in our personal lives. List three things that you will do during Lent which you are not doing now.

  1. ______________________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________________
  3. ________________________________________________________________