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1st Sunday in Lent, Year B

1st Sunday in Let, Year B
Genesis 9:8-15
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15
February 22, 2015

Jesus had just been baptized by John in the Jordan River.  One might think it would have been time to celebrate.  However, instead of a celebration, we are told that, “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert.”

Why?  We see the desert as an unpleasant place without food or water, a place without much life.  As such, the desert can be a place of trial.

It was in the desert that Jesus faced forty days of temptation from Satan.  Think about how you would have felt in the desert without much food or drink and the threat of “wild beasts.”  All Satan would have to do to tempt one would be to offer them food and water or protection from the wild beasts.  Would you have been able to resist the temptation?

Jesus did.

Temptation is nothing new.  Neither is sin.  We hear of both in the very beginning when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden.  They were tempted by Satan to eat the fruit of the one tree that was prohibited.  They failed to resist the temptation and, hence, the original sin.

It was the first sin but it was not the last sin.  Not long after came Cain and Abel, the ultimate case of sibling rivalry.  Things only got worse from there.  Sin became so prevalent that God chose to send a great flood to cleanse the Earth.  Only Noah and his family survived.

Can you imagine living in fear of another flood every time it rained?

After the flood was over, God promised Noah that He would never again destroy the world for sin by a flood.  As a sign of His promise, God set his bow in the sky.  This is the rainbow that we sometimes see in the sky after a rainstorm.

We can hear of legends of leprechauns hiding their pot of god at the end of the rainbow.  Hearing this, one wonders how to find the end of the rainbow to get the treasure.

Viewed in the light of the story of the Great Flood, the rainbow does represent a great treasure but it is not gold.  It is something that makes gold worthless.  The treasure represented in the rainbow is God’s love.  What greater treasure can there be?

When we are baptized, we become adopted children of God and heirs to the treasure of God.  We might like to think that once we are baptized, life will suddenly become glorious and without temptation.  Remember Jesus in the desert?  It was after His baptism that He faced Satan’s temptation.

This Sunday at the 10:30 Mass we will celebrate the Rite of Sending for the people in our RCIA program.  They span from around ten years old to over sixty.  Some have baptized, some have not but they all have been making this journey towards faith in Jesus when, at the Easter Vigil, they will complete the Sacraments of Initiation.

In receiving the Rite of Sending this weekend and next weekend the Rite of Election with our Bishop, they begin their final preparation for the Sacraments.

Here we find the origin of Lent.  Initially Lent was a special time simply for those joining the Church at Easter but the Church can to realize how we all need a time of examination and renewal.  This is a time to reflect on how we are living out our lives.  Are we following Jesus?  Do we have sins we need to confess?  Are we winning against temptation?

It would be nice to say we are always winning the battle against temptation but that isn’t the reality, is it?

A few days ago we celebrated Ash Wednesday.  As the ashes were placed on our foreheads, we hear the words, Repent and Believe in the Gospel!  These are the words Jesus said at the end of today’s gospel.  Do you repent?  Do you believe in the gospel?

One Comment

  1. Barbara Vela says:

    This is wonderful and breaks the biblical history into relatable events that may be occurring in our lives.
    I miss living in Ithaca because of Father Jeff- have not found anyone like him throughout many years in Chicago and Orange County.

    I hope this word can get out to Non -Catholics or many Catholics who have become disenchanted.
    We need ” contemporary” homilies, dialogue and marketing –

    Thank you,

    Barbara Vela RN ,MBA

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