Lent Sunday 1, (YEAR B), 26 February 2012
Gen 9: 8-15; Ps. 24; I Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15
40 DAYS WITH JESUS
Yes, the point about Lent is that we are on a journey with Jesus. Its purpose is to help restore the relationship of love between God and human beings. These things are said very clearly in today’s readings. God had threatened to destroy humanity because of their rebellion. The flood is a sign of that destruction. But, after 40 days, he shows mercy, and renews the solemn agreement of love (the Covenant). Now, the rainbow is the symbol of restored union between heaven and earth.
We make the same journey that Jesus did. Mark’s account is shorter than in the other gospels. All we are told is that Jesus was in the company of wild beasts, that he was tempted, and that angels comforted him. And at the end of 40 days, he emerges with the message: change your lives and believe the good news!
What about our journey? What does Lent mean for us?
Imagine spending 40 days in a desert. In a desert, most of the things we rely on are stripped away. Not much food or water; no distractions; no computers or modern gadgets; no entertainments; only you and God, and any wild creatures you might meet – some of them possibly dangerous.
Just you and God. And coming face to face with the “wild beasts” that live in you and in me, that make us centred on ourselves and cause fear, and keep tempting us to give in and take an easier way. It’s clear that there are things that need to change in our lives too. Some things we must die to, to find new life. We are journeying with Jesus towards Easter!
The desert isn’t for cowards. But we are not left alone. We have the angels with us. And we have tools for the journey: prayer (in our private space, face to face with God); fasting (from too much food; from harmful habits; from self); works of mercy (anything we can do to show a needy person how generous and merciful God is).
Br. Charles Sérignat OFM Cap, Rome