1st Sunday of Lent Year B
Gen.9:8-15; 1 Pet.3:18-22; Mk.1:12-15
Pope St John Paul II, on one of the Ash Wednesday Masses, conveyed this message:
“When we forget the need for penance, self denial and sacrifice, we forget
‘we are sinners’.
When we forget we are sinners, we forget ‘we need Christ’.
When we forget that we need Christ, then we have ‘lost everything’.”
Lent is about facing ourselves, our inner self…. seeing the evil we are capable of and how our heart is deceitful, wicked and sinful. Jesus taught us the importance of being led by the Spirit into the desert. The desert is where we are adrift for 40 days and nights in the ark, depending on God’s word and the Promised Covenant. For the early Christians, in the days of Peter, saw death, dying and being in the tomb or baptism, for the God-self to emerge. It was the 40-day desert experience with the wild beasts and Satan that tempted, tried, tested Jesus. Jesus had to face the forces that sought to corrupt Him, to make Him sin.
In the desert, Jesus endured the distractions, the temptations and inner conflicts.
The first temptation was pleasures: material comfort, sensual life, easy and painless way, human adulation and accolades, feeding the ego.
The second temptation was avoiding the cross: preferring a life without the cross, avoid sacrifices, test God and expect Super miracles, wanting signs all the time.
The third temptation was power: to be powerful and influential, tamper with nature and natural order of things, compromise on the law and work with evil to attain one’s ambition.
We have to contend with the wild beasts and Satan on one side, and the assuring presence of the angels on the other side. Jesus overcame the temptations. He knew “who He was” and “what His Mission in life was”. Entering the desert is to distinguish the genuine voice of the Spirit from the deceitful voices; to yield to the God of our hearts not to the dictates of our sinful hearts; to say ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to the tempter(s) and temptations.
“To not forget who we are”:
- We have to constantly remember the covenant that Lord had made with us, our first affirming love experience and the God-given word of life.
- At times, we need to permit the Holy Spirit to lead us into the desert or aimless drifting phase to grasp absent-presence of God, to walk by faith and not by sight.
The Covenant of God is Your Companion and Your Food in The Desert.