Our Lenton Season

Lent is a period of preparation before celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.

Annual Lenten Bible Study

Around The Lenten Circle

February 18, 2024 - March 24, 2024

View and download the materials below:

During Sunday School @ 9am Phone & Video conference. All Sunday School will join together for this study.

Lent is a period of preparation before celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter

February 18, 2024 • First Sunday of Lent • Year B

He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. —Mark 1:13
OPENING PRAYER:
Reader: We gather to reflect on this season of Lent, quieting ourselves so we may better hear God’s message for us.
All: Lord, be with us on this journey.
Reader: We gather to reflect on our own personal deserts and how God has walked with us through them.
lighted candle in dark room
lighted candle in dark room
All: Lord, help us to see how you have been with us even if we did not recognize it at the time.
Reader: We pray that we may leave here inspired to be more aware of and sensitive to those who are experiencing times of darkness or temptation now.
All: Help us to be more like Jesus, so that we may withstand the temptations which pull us away from life, love, and light. Amen.

SHARING

Does it seem like the Christmas season just ended? It’s only been six weeks since we celebrated the coming of the Magi to meet the baby Jesus. In the Lenten readings we will hear over the next six weeks, Jesus is a full grown man: teaching, performing miracles, and being tested by humans as well as Satan. We begin our Lenten journey so as to come to know this Jesus better, and follow him more closely.

1. What is your general experience of Lent? Is it something you look forward to? Dread? Or has it not had any significant impact on you in the past? Please share.
2. Do you have any particular hopes for how you would like to observe Lent this year? What commitments are you considering, especially in the realm of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving?

3. What would you like to get out of this group?

LISTENING: PSALM 25:4-7, 9-10

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me…
There are hundreds of stories of journeys in the Bible. Abraham and Sarah left their people and their homeland to journey to a new land. Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt and on a 40 year journey through the wilderness. Ruth and Naomi journeyed back to Bethlehem together after their husbands died. Mary went on a journey to visit Elizabeth when she realized they were both pregnant. Jesus journeyed from his home in Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, and then to Jerusalem where he was killed. Many of the biblical journeys involved unforeseen twist and turns, detours, and/or interruptions.

Like the biblical characters, we have all undertaken many journeys in our lives too: sometimes physical moves from one part of the country to another, or even to foreign countries. Sometimes our journeys are more symbolic: for example, when a five year old leaves his parents to go to kindergarten for the first time, when a teenager strikes out on her own after high school, when we journey into a romantic love relationship, or when we change a career path. In all of these journeys we would do well to pray to know which paths the Lord is inviting us to follow. Which paths call out a greater steadfastness of love and faithfulness? Those are the paths we want to take, not the ones which may look attractive at first glance but would lead us away from truth and love

SHARING

1. Please share about a time when you chose a path that moved you away from steadfast love and faithfulness. What learnings did you glean from that experience?
2. Share an example of a time when you made a decision that led to greater love, truth, and more abundant life. What told you that it 1-4 was the right path for you to take?
3. What has your journey this past year been like? How has God shown you the right path? Please share.

REFLECTION: MARK 1:12-15

Mark’s story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is the shortest one of any of the gospels. It gives no details about how he was tempted by Satan or how he overcame those temptations. It does, however, tell us the interesting detail that after Jesus came through the ordeal, angels cared for him. When he returns, he begins his public ministry, bringing Good News to those who are suffering and encouraging people to turn away from destructive behavior.

This season of Lent provides a great opportunity for us to practice turning away from unhealthy or sinful habits and to begin living more and more into Jesus’ Good News. We have 40 days to experiment with what changes might be fruitful. Traditionally, Catholics are encouraged to commit to action in three areas: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (giving to the poor). All of these have the potential to lead us back to Jesus and his teachings.

We are encouraged to strengthen our prayer lives. If we have a prayer practice, maybe we can add a little time to it. If we don’t have a regular time for prayer, Lent can be the push we need to get started. It can be as simple as following a Lenten prayer booklet or on-line daily retreat program.
"And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Commonly, we Catholics are known for fasting from coffee, sweets, or alcohol for 40 days but then going right back to our regular habits after Easter. Perhaps this Lent, you might consider fasting from something that is unloving, unproductive, or just not good for you and the world community.
That might mean fasting from gossip, from social media, or from buying things you don’t need.
Finally, with almsgiving, we are called to share our resources with the poor. Save the money you would have spent going out to eat once a week and donate it to a food program instead. Use the money you would normally use for a personal luxury and give it to a homeless person-without judging how he/she might use it (because he/she could easily judge how you might have used it!)

SHARING

1. Share what you are considering doing to observe Lent this year, particularly in the areas of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
2. Share about a temptation that is currently vexing you. What helps in your efforts to resist it? What hurts your efforts?
3. How might you call upon the support of others (angels around you) in order to resist the temptation?

CLOSING PRAYER

Reader: Lord God, teach us your paths. 1-6
All: Help us to choose the ways that lead to life, and to resist any temptations that lead us further away from love, hope, and justice.
Reader: We ask this in Jesus’ name.
All: Amen.

Copyright © 2024 Ann Naffziger. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Published by The Pastoral Center / PastoralCenter.com. Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

40 Days with Jesus . . .