Gospel Reflection: First Sunday in Lent

Reading 1

Gn 9:8-15

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
"See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth."
God added:
"This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth,
and the bow appears in the clouds,
I will recall the covenant I have made
between me and you and all living beings,
so that the waters shall never again become a flood
to destroy all mortal beings."


Mk 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.

Today’s readings speak of God's covenantal love and invite us to trust in the guidance of His Spirit.

In the First Reading, God speaks to Noah and his sons about the bow, or rainbow, in the clouds that would remind Him of the covenant He made with Noah and all living things to never flood the Earth again. It is interesting to note that He created a visual reminder for Noah and his sons, recognizing their visual nature. In doing so, He communicated His love in a manner tailored to their understanding.

In the Gospel, we read that the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert after being baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist. We can imagine Jesus feeling that internal tug to retreat from the world. Perhaps it wasn’t revealed to Him how long He would have to remain in the desert, and it surely became difficult, especially when He was tempted by Satan, but He remained.

During this Lenten Season, the Spirit of God, through the wisdom of the Church, also drives us into the desert. Unlike Jesus, we are aware that this period will last 40 days, and yet we are invited to remain. Let us remain by embracing fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving. Let us remain by bearing patiently everyday challenges. Let us remain by holding firm to the particular sacrifices we've chosen to make during Lent. Let us remain and trust in the work of the Spirit during this time.

May we open ourselves to the grace offered through the Sacraments, the guidance of the Daily Readings, and the nourishment of the Holy Eucharist, sustaining us through these 40 days and preparing us to joyously celebrate the Resurrection's triumph.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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