What’s with the lectionary in Lent?

What is going on with the lectionary during Lent?

This Sunday and the next couple, the gospel text is nearly 40 verses long or longer. I realize these are extended stories, but really? It is not the reading time that bothers me, so much, but the challenge of coming to a clear focus for a sermon when the congregation has just been given 40 verses. No matter what I preach, there are going to be scads of questions or loose ends. And if I try to tie those up, the sermon will be a mess.

I realize this is the challenge every week we preach. No sermon ever says everything that could be said or even needs to be said.

But, still. Ouch. Three weeks in a row. Ouch.