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  • Writer's picturePhil


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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

Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted.

As we remember before God the times when we have fallen into

temptation, let us call to mind our sins….

that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent,

that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ

and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

FIRST READING - Genesis chapter 9:8 to 15

God spoke to Noah and his sons,

“See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;

also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle

and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark,

everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you:

no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood.

There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.”

God said, “Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you

and every living creature with you for all generations:

I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant

between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth

and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant

between myself and you and every living creature of every kind.

And so the waters shall never again become a flood

to destroy all things of flesh.”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love

for those who keep your covenant.

Lord, make me know your ways.

Lord, teach me your paths.

Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:

for you are God my saviour.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love

for those who keep your covenant.

Remember your mercy, Lord,

and the love you have shown from of old.

In your love remember me,

because of your goodness, O Lord.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love

for those who keep your covenant.

The Lord is good and upright.

He shows the path to those who stray,

he guides the humble in the right path;

he teaches his way to the poor.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love

for those who keep your covenant.

SECOND READING - 1 Peter 3:18-22

Christ himself, innocent though he was, died once for sins, died for the guilty,

to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death,

in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit,

he went to preach to the spirits in prison.

Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved

only a small group of eight people “by water”, and when God was still waiting

patiently, that these spirits refused to believe.

That water is a type of the baptism which saves you now,

and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God

from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made

the angels of the Dominations and Powers his subjects.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God


Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

Man does not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

GOSPEL -A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 1:12-15.

and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan.

He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee.

There he proclaimed the Good News from God. “The time has come”

he said “and the kingdom of God is close at hand.

Repent, and believe the Good News.”

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

HOMILY - A group of us walked a while back around the town Calleva –Silchester,

just north of Basingstoke, where one can walk on walls constructed some 17 centuries ago, view the town gateways, and enter the arena of an amphitheatre which with little pressure on the imagination opens scenes in the mind of gladiatorial combat, of men fighting to the death against one other or wild beasts.

The Amphitheatre of any Roman town was what put the Roman stamp on a place, along with the Baths, a Forum, and regimentally-straight roads criss-crossing the town from the North, South, East and West.

If you haven’t been, it’s well-worth a visit – and it’s history for free!

The Amphitheatre is especially worth seeing. It was the place of sport;

but it was also the place of execution, where many a Callevan citizen must have thought, “there, but for the grace of God, go I!”.

The spectacle of the Amphitheatre was a re-enactment before the Roman audience

of the very struggle of life itself, where some survived, and many didn’t.

Mark was writing for Christians in troubled times.

In Mark’s Gospel today we hear of the Holy Spirit

driving Jesus into the amphitheatre of the wilderness

sharing the stage with wild beasts.

Jesus the Gladiator, in combat with THE BEAST, Satan.

in a combat that lasted forty days.

In his account of the temptation Mark says nothing about fasting,

nothing about Jesus' being physically exhausted or famished.

This is about Jesus, right at the beginning of his ministry,

with the water of the Jordan still dripping from his hair and clothing,

developing the power and the strength to withstand the evil in the world

that would endeavour to destroy him

Jesus, God’s champion, God’s Gladiator,

beginning a combat that was to continue for three years

in the power that he received in his baptism,

by which he cast out demons,

healed the sick

and raised the dead.

For the next few chapters,

Mark will tell story after story of Jesus' exorcisms and healings,

to demonstrate that evil's power is no match for him.


For Mark’s readers this all made perfect sense –

At the time of writing, Christians in Rome

knew for themselves the wild beasts literally tearing them apart

as Nero, Caligula and other cruel Beasts used Christians for bloodsport

in the arena of the Coliseum.

In the Roman political arena,

Christians were blamed for all the evils of the day,

just as The Jews had been in Nazi Germany,

and in Medieval Europe during the Bubonic Plague

and have been throughout history.

Some scholars believe Mark to be the scribe for Peter;

Peter himself knew of the Beasts prowling around himself and others in AD60 Rome when he wrote

1 Peter 5:8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

But this account is not only about wild beasts and emperors;

it is also about God ministering to Jesus, and to us, in his struggle

and in our struggles.

Significantly in Matthew and Luke,

Jesus seems very much alone with his thoughts and his struggles.

In Mark’s account, JESUS IS NOT ALONE.

God ministers to Jesus in the same way that Elijah's needs were met

in his forty day ordeal, - 1 Kings 19:7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

In Jesus, the power of God is not simply coming-

-it is at hand.

In Jesus, the power of God has broken in.

God IS victorious. Evil WILL be vanquished.

We are no match for evil….

Left to our own resources, of our intelligence,

strength, education and training, wealth,

privileged position, or good intentions,

these are no match for the one awaiting us in the cosmic arena of the wilderness,

or indeed the arena that is within ourselves.

Childhood fear of things going bump in the night

and the imagined beasts under our beds,

are nothing compared with the beasts we know to be out there,

or, perhaps even more dreaded, the beast within us.

God gives us the gift of his Spirit

and empowers us in the test and temptations of our own wildernesses.

According to Mark

Satan's power is real, but it is limited

and is no match for the power of God.

Mark’s point is –




I believe in God, the Father almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended into hell;

on the third day he rose again from the dead;

he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;

from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and life everlasting. Amen.


God of love, hear the cry of fractured families, broken homes,

people who feel neglected, unwanted, alone.

God of love; hear our prayer

God of justice, hear the cry of those who yearn for justice;

the persecuted and oppressed, the exploited, ill-treated,

those who feel that life is without hope.

God of justice; hear our prayer

God of peace, hear the cry of those who yearn for peace;

in battle zones and broken states, people who are frightened,

the fearful, the anxious;

God of peace; hear our prayer

God of healing, hear the cry of those who yearn for healing;

physical and spiritual, those who are hurting, weakened, bereaved, depressed;

God of healing; hear our prayer

We ask Mary to pray with us,

as we with her bring our care

for our world in the grip of this pandemic;

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee,

blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit

of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

May we know:

The peace of God

The love of God

The justice of God

The healing of God

This day and all days.

and grew closer to you in the desert:

help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer,

that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us lift up our hearts.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,

through Christ our Lord.

By abstaining forty long days from earthly food,

he consecrated through his fast

the pattern of our Lenten observance

and, by overturning all the snares of the ancient serpent,

taught us to cast out the leaven of malice,

so that, celebrating worthily the Paschal Mystery,

we might pass over at last to the eternal paschal feast.

And so, with the company of Angels and Saints, we proclaim your praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,

graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy,

we may be always free from sin

and safe from all distress,

as we await the blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace.


My Jesus, I love you above all things.

How I long to receive you with my brothers and sisters

at the table you have prepared.

Since I cannot at this moment receive you in bread and wine

according to your promise in the sacrament of Holy Communion,

I ask you to feed me with the manna of your Holy Spirit

and nourish me with your Holy presence.

I unite myself wholly to you.

Never permit me to be separated from your love.

Loving God, I have come to worship you.

Help me to remember that you are here with me.

Eternal God, in Christ you make yourself a guest.

Amid all my cares and concerns

make me attentive to your voice

and alert to your presence,

that I may know your love surpasses all else;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Sit for a moment in silence

My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment

receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.



Christ give us grace to grow in holiness, to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him; and the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, come down upon us and remain with us for ever. Amen.

THE ANGELUS The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

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