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First Sunday of Lent

March 5, 2006

First Sunday of Lent:

Happy “little Easter”! (Sunday, even during Lent, is a day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, just as every Friday is a day of gratitude for the death He suffered for our salvation)

Genesis 9:8-15 (God promises Noah that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood)
Psalm 25:4-6, 7-9 “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth, to those who keep Your covenant”
I Peter 3:18-22 (We’re saved through Baptism as Noah was through the flood)
+Mark 1:12-15 (Jesus’ temptation in the desert & preaching)

Today’s readings point our attention to Baptism, bringing out one of the themes of Lent we haven’t explored yet. We’re preparing to renew our Baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil, to claim again for ourselves the covenant that (for most of us) was made on our behalf. We’ve already passed through the flood, through the waters of death. We’ve already come out, clothed with new, supernatural life, on the other side. St. Peter tells us that this corresponds exactly to Noah’s salvation through the waters of the great flood.

Jesus, too, passed through the waters of Baptism, and it was right after He had completed that ceremony that the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days and nights. Talk about feast or famine! We’ve just gone from flood (too much water) to desert (not enough water). But notice the same forty days and nights. Notice the wild beasts on the ark and in the desert. It all ties together. It was Noah’s rejection of sin, his righteousness, that got him into the ark in the first place. It’s our rejection of sin that brings us to the waters of Baptism.

But it doesn’t end there. Our salvation has just begun. We too are tempted after Baptism. We have our choice to succumb to the wild beasts (our untamed desires) or to let the angels minister to us (we each have a guardian angel of our own who so often goes unnoticed). We have the chance to demonstrate that we meant what we said when we promised to reject Satan and all his empty promises, and to hold to all that God’s revealed through His Church.

Through it all Jesus calls to us. It’s time! The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the good news!

May this reminder of our Baptism inspire us to deeper faithfulness to the promises we made when we entered this covenant relationship of love with God.

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