In Sunday’s Gospel, we listen Jesus announce the familiar order of the Church during Lent: “Repent, and believes in the Gospel.”
Gospel( Read Mk 1:12 -1 5)
In one of the lectionary’s shortest Gospel sees, St. Mark describes the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Right after His baptism by John in the Jordan, “the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty dates, allured by Satan.” St. Mark, unlike the other clergymen, doesn’t hold us details of the temptation. His focus is on the forty daytimes and on Jesus’ contact with both failure and ministering angels. Why is it important to know that this was a forty-day event?
To the Jews, the numeral forty had a long association with seasons of testing and probation for God’s beings. In the working day of Noah, when “the LORD looked that the wickedness of lover was great in the earth, and that every thought of the thinks of his stomach was only misery continually”( Gen. 6:5 ), He mailed a rain that submerge the earth for forty days and darkness. The Flood was a judgment on the rampant wickedness that had spread through the earth, but it was also a duration of prayer, in which God retained live, both in human beings and swine, through the righteousness of one person, Noah. Later, when God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt and made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai, He tested them by restraining Moses in a fiery cloud on the top of the mountain for forty daylights and darkness, leaving them without a evident president( identify Ex. 24:18 ). They neglected that research, forming for themselves a golden calf, a idol they could see. However, God had forgivenes on them, through Moses’ intervention, and He agreed to continue with them on their passage to the Promised Land. As penance for the sin of the people, Moses fasted forty days and nights on Mt. Sinai, as he waited for God to write His precepts on stone tablets for a second time( meet Ex 24:28 ). When the Israelites finally arrived at the border of Canaan, they refused to go in to possess the shore; they were not willing to trust God for the conquest. God caused them what the fuck is craved, so the people wandered in the wilderness for forty years as the disaffected generation died off. It took that long to refine the society of its hard-heartedness.
Even just this brief( and not complete) biography of the figure forty in the Old Testament helps us see that when St. Mark tells us simply that Jesus was in the desert for forty eras, he was saying quite a lot. When he tells us further that Jesus was “tempted by Satan, ” we understand that Jesus entered into what many others in the history of man had faced without success. Certainly, the commonwealth of Israel, God’s chosen beings, had not been able to resist the Tempter’s call to disobedience and covenant unfaithfulness. Their long record have also shown that. For Jesus to follow the Spirit into the desert and face down Satan conveyed He was the true Israel, the blameless “first-born” of God, as Israel was frequently announced in Scripture( learn Ex 4:22 ). Jesus did for them what they could not do for themselves.
Notice that St. Mark likewise tells us, “He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him.” This description makes us all the way back to Adam in Eden, who reputation all the animals and lived among them. He was the first victim of Satan’s seduction. Adam’s original ardour of God, given to him at Creation, had to be tested in order for it to be truly his own. His probation ended in original sin; angels drove him out of Eden and blocked the mode back in. So, Jesus in the desert for forty epoches, resisting Satan without capitulation, becomes the true Adam, doing for all mankind what we cannot do for ourselves. As a arise, angels ministered to Him–a tender change of the Fall.
At His baptism, Jesus had publicly distinguished Himself as a humanity living in a failure world-wide, like all of us. His immediate battle with man’s great enemy, Satan, trained Him to fight to the end, even to fatality on a Cross. That is why, when John the Baptist’s public ministry ended with imprisonment, Jesus was ready to announce, “This is the time of fulfillment. The domain of God is at hand. Repent, and belief the Gospel.”
Possible response: Lord Jesus, I am so thankful You are well-acquainted with temptation. Help me be reminded that about You.
First Reading( Read Gen 9:8 -1 5)
In these ballads, we find the words God spoke to Noah after the Flood objective, and Noah was once again on dry land. The enormous purification of the earth through water had taken place. There had been much demise, of both men and wolves, but there had also been a kind of rebirth and renewal. In special, we see how God desired to establish a covenant with Noah, his successors, and “every living creature.” God promised never to repeat the Flood: “There shall not be another flood to ravage the earth.” As a ratify of this hope, God defined the rainbow in the sky. In this beautiful element appearing in nature, we can see the first drawing of sacramental charm. God accompanieds Himself and His love with a concrete, tangible reality. When subjects see it, God Himself will play, which is pure grace: “I will recall the covenant I have induced between Me and you and all living beings.” We understand that a sacrament is also a guaranteed encounter with Jesus, in which His life spurts into us, by means of water, oil, eat, wine-colored, etc. Pure grace.
The great value of see this passing on the first Sunday in Lent, which is our own forty epoches of purgation and purification, is the fact that it vividly reminds us that times of testing and trial have a purpose, a destination. We can see God’s eagerness to establish Noah within the safety and provision of His covenant, formerly the Flood had ended. So it is with us. The jaunt through Lent leads us to the joy of Easter, to the victory of the New Covenant. We might wonder why God promised never to purify the earth with another deluge. Didn’t great wickedness appear again on the earth, even in Noah’s own period? Did the Flood genuinely labor? It certainly was endeavouring to coach the world countries that wickedness must eventually be judged. However, it would take a different kind of “bath” to rinse the human heart clean of guilt. God would never need to send another Flood, because it had already helped such an objective, parting beyond itself to the irrigates that they are able to definitively shower the earth clean–baptism, the sea of brand-new life.
Possible response: Heavenly Father, please help me keep the goal of covenant joy with You ahead of me in my Lenten journey this year.
Psalm( Read Ps 25:4 -9)
This psalm is an excellent Lenten prayer, because it is a simple plea for God to educate and leader us, causing in us open minds. When we think about the story of man, beginning with Adam and all through Israel’s history, we see it as a narrative of man’s struggle to obey God, to keep covenant with Him. Jesus came to heal us and move us able to obey. So , now, we are able to, in all sincerity, pray: “Your directions, O LORD, make known to me; teach me Your paths.” This is able to our heart’s desire in Lent. In the opennes of petition, fasting, and almsgiving, we seek to cut away distractions and onus that hardened our hearts and prepare us dull to God’s adoration. The psalmist knows that God’s compassion and cherish “are from old.” He has ever been deforming down to be kind and is right to us. In Lent, we can confess with the psalmist: “Your rooms, O Lord, are love and truth to those who retain Your covenant.”
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a have responded to our other speaks. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading( Read 1 Pet 3:18 -2 2)
This passage contains two compositions that have astounded exegetes for centuries, and the debate about their gist has not been definitively resolved. The danger for us is to bog down and miss the reading’s main message and its connections to the other learnings. Let’s thus avoiding that.
St. Peter tells us, “Christ declined for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might precede “youre going to” God.” This summarizes all of salvation history–all the failed testings and probations of all men, from Adam to now, have been overcome in Christ’s suffering and acquiescence on our behalf. Jesus’ death and Resurrection have strongly fulfilled God’s loving will for man.
The difficulty comes in vss. 19 -2 0. We do not have the room to examine the many different interpretations that have appeared over the years in which Christians have predicted them. The most recent scholarship suggests that the verses describe Jesus’ descent into Hades, the abode of the dead. He ran there to liberate those who had sought to live righteously and died before His appearance within history. The textbook says He “preached to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah.” These “spirits” are not the unrighteous( because there is no the possibilities for repentance after demise ). Instead, according to Jewish tradition in Jesus’ day, they refer to fallen angels who persuasion and plagued humanity in Noah’s day. It was thought that, being angels, the Flood could not destroy them, so they were shackled in Hades, awaiting their demise. When Jesus descended into Hades on Holy Saturday, “in addition to liberating the honourable dead of the Old Testament for entry into Heaven, He too exclaimed( “preached”) Himself Conqueror of evil to the infernal flavours whose supremacy has only been recently been crushed by His redeeming death.”( Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, pg 456)
The real jab of this piece, however, is to help us see that the Flood was a foreshadowing of baptism, by which we can have a “clear conscience” before God. The acquiescence of Jesus has won this for us. In Lent, we aim to enter more amply into this gift of live to us. Once, Jesus did battle with a intense, repugnant adversary. Now, He has “gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, dominions, and dominances subject to Him.”
King Jesus, extend Your Church through this Lent to the victory of Easter.
Possible response: Lord Jesus, please open my gazes during this Lent to the ways the Enemy subtly tries to shackle me to himself.
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