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First Sunday of Lent, Year B – Homily

First Sunday of Lent, Year B
Genesis 9:8-15
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (10)
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15
February 21, 2021

In the beginning God created Adam and Eve.  They lived in the Garden of Eden until the first sin.

Satan came and tempted them.  They gave into temptation and ate the forbidden fruit.  Hence, the first sin, the original sin.

Then Cain killed his brother Abel.  Sin continued and spread until it was so bad that God made it rain for forty days and forty nights to flood the whole world to cleanse it of sin.

Yet, not all was lost.  There was someone good, Noah.  Before the rain began, God instructed Noah to build the great ark to save him, his family, and the birds and animals.

It rained for forty days and forty nights.  It was a long time after the rain ended before the waters receded and land could be found.

When the flood was over, God established a covenant with Noah and his descendants that He would never again destroy “by the waters of a flood.

And God never has.  God keeps his promises.

God gave a sign of that covenant that we see at times even today.  What is the sign?  God said, “I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

The sign?  The sign is a rainbow. 

Do we not enjoy seeing a rainbow?  We see beauty in the rainbow.  We talk about the treasure at the end of the rainbow.  The treasure of the rainbow is not a pot of gold.  The treasure is the covenant God has made with us.  The treasure is God’s love.

God keeps his promise.

However, sin continued.  The people would grumble against God in the desert during the Exodus.  There was David and Bathsheba. 

Then came Jesus.  Just as all humans before him had to face temptation so did Jesus.  Thus, “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert” where He spent “forty days, tempted by Satan.

Unlike us, Jesus is able to resist the temptation.  He knows Satan is cunning.  He succeeds against temptation. 

We know temptation is a challenge.  That’s why we call it “temptation.”  Knowing it is a challenge, we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Deliver us…we do not have to face temptation alone.  Just as the angels ministered to Jesus, God gives us each a guardian angel to help lead us from temptation to what is good. 

When we do sin, as long as we sincerely repent, Jesus provides the remedy for our sins.  As Peter writes, “Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.”

Jesus Christ is the righteous, without sin.  We have sin and are unrighteous. 

Jesus died for our sins to put death to sin that we might live in the Spirit that God bestows on us in Baptism.  We are sealed with the same Holy Spirit in our Confirmation. 

God is patient in waiting for us to change. 

We need help to abandon sin.  We call out, “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

We ask the Lord to make his ways known to us, to teach us his paths, and to guide us in his truth.

God gives us the Holy Spirit who brings gifts that include knowledge, wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, piety, and fear of the Lord to help us.

What stands in our way?

Sin.

The most serious sins, mortal sins, separate us from God.  They can block us from hearing what the Lord says.  Our lesser sins, venial sins, do not break our relationship with God but they do make it harder to know what God is saying to us.

What do we need to do?

We need to “Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  To repent we must acknowledge our sins and express true sorrow, contrition, for our sins.  God gives us the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for this.  It is a gift we cannot merit on our own. 

God’s forgiveness is a gift won for us by Jesus’ suffering, his death on the Cross for us. 

Lord, your ways are love and truth.  Please help us to repent of our sins and to follow your truth in all things.

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