Sunday Next before Easter, commonly called Palm Sunday:
Liturgy of the Palms
Cover art: “Entry of Christ into Jerusalem" by Pietro Lorenzetti, c. 1320, fresco, Lower Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi, Italy
Lent 5: Passion Sunday (focus texts in bold):
Exodus 24:4-8 - the ratification of the Covenant at Sinai
Psalm 18:1-7, 17-20, 26-27 - God vindicates all who call on him
Hebrews 9:11-15 - Jesus brings about a better covenant
John 8:46-59a - "Before Abraham was, I am"
Cover art: “Man of Sorrows" by a follower of Guido Reni, 1630-1700, oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Lent 4 (focus texts in bold):
Exodus 12:2-7a - the Israelites murmuer against Moses, and God sends manna
Psalm 125 - do well, O Lord, unto those that are good and true of heart
Galatians 4:21-31 - the allegory of Sarah and Hagar
John 6:1-14 - Jesus feeds the 5,000
Cover art: Coptic Orthodox icon of the feeding of the multitudes
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (focus texts in bold):
Isaiah 7:10-15 - Behold, a virgin will give birth
Psalm 113 - the Lord lifts up the simple out of the dust
Romans 5:12-19 - one man brought condemnation, the new man brings life
Luke 1:26-38 - the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Cover art: “The Annunciation" by El Greco, c. 1590-1603, oil on canvas, Ohara Museum, Kurashiki, Japan
Lent 3 (focus texts in bold):
Numbers 22:21-31 - Balaam and his donkey
Psalm 9:13-20 - the Lord will defend the poor from the wicked
Ephesians 5:1-14 - be ye therefore imitators of God, as dear children
Luke 11:14-28 - Jesus casts out a mute ("dumb") devil, and challenges his accusers
Cover art: “The Dumb Man Possessed" by Gustav Dore, engraving, 1897
Lent 2 (focus texts in bold):
Jeremiah 17:5-10 - The heart is decietful above all things... who can know it?
Psalm 25:13-21 - The secret of the Lord is among them that fear him.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 - you should know how to possess your vessel in honour
Matthew 15:21-28 - Jesus heals the Canaanite woman's daughter
Cover art: “Christ and the Canaanite” by Adolf Holzel, before 1926, oil on canvas, private collection
Lent 1 (focus texts in bold):
Genesis 3:1-7 - the temptation of our first parents in the Garden
Psalm 91:1-13 - the Lord will give his angels charge over the Messiah
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 - "Behold, now is the acceptable time."
Matthew 4:1-11 - Jesus tempted by the devil in the wilderness
Cover art: “Jesus tempted in the wilderness” by James Tissot, c. 1886-1894; watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper; Brooklyn Museum, New York
First Day of Lent,
commonly called Ash Wednesday (focus text in bold):
Penitential Office: Psalm 51 - "Have mercy on me, O God"
Joel 2:12-17 - "Rend your hearts and not your garments"
Psalm 31 - "Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven"
James 4:1-10 - the most intense call to repentance in the entire New Testament
Matthew 6:16-21 - doing devotion in secret, from the Sermon on the Mount
Cover art: an ashen cross
The Sunday called Quinquagesima
or, the Sunday next before Lent (focus text in bold):
Deuteronomy 6:4-14 - "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one."
Psalm 106:1-10 - "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is gracious; his love endures"
1 Corinthians 13 - Paul's rhapsodic exploration of love
Luke 18:31-43 - Jesus heals a blind man in Jericho
Cover art: “Saint Paul” by Bartolomeo Montagna, 1482, oil on panel, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Mila
The Sunday called Sexagesima
or, the Second Sunday before Lent (focus text in bold):
Genesis 3:9-19 - "he shall bruise his head, and he shall bruise his heel"
Psalm 130 - If thou, Lord, wilt mark what is done amiss, who may abide it?
2 Corinthians 11:19-21 - Paul boasts in his infirmities like a "fool"
Luke 8:4-15 - the parable of the sower
Cover art: “The Parable of the Sower” by Gerald Steinmeyer, 2004, fresco, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina