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1st Sunday of Lent (Ages 3-6): Bread and the Lord

(Adults, you could begin by reading the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)

The church has entered a new season, so the colour has changed! Instead of green, the priest wears purple. We are in the season of Lent, a time of preparation for the great feast of Easter. At Easter, we will celebrate Jesus dying and rising to new life—never to die again! But before we celebrate, we prepare. There will be six purple Sundays to prepare for the feast.

This first Sunday of Lent, we hear about what happens right after Jesus is baptized in the Jordan river. He has heard God say how much he is loved, and the Holy Spirit has come down upon him. Now what does the Holy Spirit do?

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

The Holy Spirit takes Jesus to the wilderness where there are no other people, only the nature that God creates. Jesus spends forty days there. Forty is a very large number.

He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

Nothing at all to eat?! Of course, Jesus is famished! He is extremely hungry.

Then we hear,

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

Who is this devil who speaks to Jesus when he is so hungry? We do not know him. He is a stranger. Does Jesus listen to him? Does he make the stone turn into a loaf of bread? He is so very, very hungry. He must want bread.

But Jesus says,

“It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Jesus does not make the stones into bread. Even though he is so very, very hungry and must want bread, Jesus does not listen to the stranger. Why? What does he know?

When Jesus says, "it is written," what is he talking about? We know these words are written in holy scripture, in the Holy Bible. Jesus is talking about the Word of God.

In the Word of God, Jesus has heard that, "one does not live by bread alone." That means something else is needed besides bread. What else is needed? We can think about the sheep of the Good Shepherd. In the Bible we hear,

"The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need." (Psalm 23:1)

What do sheep need? Certainly they do not need bread, but they do need food to eat and water to drink. Is that all? Just food and drink? What else do sheep need?

If the sheep have all the grass and water they need, but they are all alone, do they have everything they need? No. They say, "The Lord is my shepherd." They need the shepherd. They need the Lord, too.

Jesus does not listen to the stranger. He listens to the Word of God. Jesus knows what the sheep need. Even though he is very hungry, he waits to make bread. Jesus waits until the day when he can give his whole life and become bread so that the sheep have bread and the Lord at the same time.

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