GOSPEL COMMUNION: 1st Sunday of Lent

February 21, 2021: First Sunday of Lent (Year B)

In Years A and C, the Gospel reading ties in with the first Communion antiphon suggested by the Missal — see below. In Year B, however, the Gospel focus is different, with Jesus being tempted in the desert and then returning after the killing of John the Baptizer to proclaim the Kingdom of God.

This Sunday’s antiphon, used recently on January 24, appears here also, combining elements from the Responsorial Psalm:

Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth
to those who keep your covenant. (Ps 25, cf. v. 10)

with Jesus’s words in the Gospel:

“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk 1:15)

On January 24 the verses were taken from Psalm 96. For this Sunday, following the suggestion in the Antiphonary for the second Missal Communion antiphon, they come from Psalm 119, beginning:

Your word is a lamp for my steps
and a light for my path.

A sample recording of part of the setting from the CD Walk in My Ways, using the verses of Ps 96 rather than Ps 119, is available here.


If a setting of the first Communion antiphon is required (see above), the Psallite setting for Years A and C is a possibility. The Missal text runs:

One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. (Mt 4:4)

and the music is:

The melody deliberately uses the first and last phrases of the hymn tune PICARDY, and has optional descants including a canon and a drone bass. The drone may also continue under the verse tone (verses from Ps 19).

A sample recording of part of the setting from the CD We Will Follow You, Lord is available here.

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