In Sunday’s Gospel, we hear Jesus announce the familiar see of the Church during Lent: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Gospel( Read Mk 1:12 -1 5)
In one of the lectionary’s shortest Gospel learns, 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 epoches, invited by Satan.” St. Mark, unlike the other missionaries, doesn’t utter us details of the temptation. His focus is on the forty eras and on Jesus’ contact with both descend and ministering angels. Why is it important to know that this was a forty-day incident?
To the Jews, the quantity forty had a long association with eras of testing and probation for God’s parties. In the days of Noah, when “the LORD determined that the wickedness of husband was great in the earth, and that every thought of the estimates of his nerve was only suffering continually”( Gen. 6:5 ), He transmitted a rain that spate the earth for forty epoches and nights. The Flood was a judgment on the rampant wickedness that had spread through the earth, but it was also a term of goodnes, in which God cured soul, both in human beings and animals, through the righteousness of one being, Noah. Later, when God extradited His people from bondage in Egypt and made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai, He measured them by impeding Moses in a fiery mas on the top of the mountain for forty daylights and nights, leaving them without a perceptible supervisor( envision Ex. 24:18 ). They miscarried that experiment, creating for themselves a golden calf, a divinity they could see. However, God had forgivenes on them, through Moses’ intervention, and He agreed to continue with them on their outing to the Promised Land. As penance for the sin of the people, Moses fasted forty daylights and darkness on Mt. Sinai, as he waited for God to write His precepts on stone tablets for a second time( interpret Ex 24:28 ). When the Israelites finally arrived at the border of Canaan, they refused to go in to possess the region; they were not willing to trust God for the conquest. God handed them what they craved, so the people strayed in the wilderness for forty years as the rebellious contemporary died off. It made that long to sanctify the nation of its hard-heartedness.
Even really this brief( and not complete) history of the quantity forty in the Old Testament helps us see that when St. Mark tells us simply that Jesus was in the desert for forty days, 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 nation of Israel, God’s chosen beings, had not been able to resist the Tempter’s call to disobedience and covenant unfaithfulness. Their long biography proved that. For Jesus to follow the Spirit into the desert and face down Satan conveyed He was the true Israel, the honourable “first-born” of God, as Israel was frequently announced in Scripture( appreciate Ex 4:22 ). Jesus did for them what they could not do for themselves.
Notice that St. Mark too tells us, “He was among wildernes barbarians, and the angels ministered to Him.” This history makes us the whole way back to Adam in Eden, who worded all the animals and lived among other issues. He was the first victim of Satan’s seduction. Adam’s original beloved 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 lane back in. So, Jesus in the desert for forty eras, repelling 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 reversion of the Fall.
At His baptism, Jesus had publicly identified Himself as a lover living in a fall nature, like all of us. His immediate battle with man’s huge foe, Satan, planned Him to fight to the end, even to demise 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 empire of God is at hand. Repent, and trust the Gospel.”
Possible response: Lord Jesus, I am so appreciative You are well-acquainted with temptation. Help me be borne in mind that about You.
First Reading( Read Gen 9:8 -1 5)
In these poems, we find the words God spoke to Noah after the Flood terminated, and Noah was once again on dry land. The great purification of the earth through water had has just taken place. There had been much fatality, of both men and barbarians, 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 progenies, and “every living creature.” God predicted never to repeat the Flood: “There shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” As a signal of this hope, God set the rainbow in the sky. In this beautiful element appearing in nature, we can see the first sketch of sacramental grace. God accompanieds Himself and His love with a concrete, tangible world. When subjects see it, God Himself will play, which is pure grace: “I will recall the covenant I have obligated 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, lubricant, food, wine-colored, etc. Pure grace.
The great value of learning this move on the first Sunday in Lent, which is our own forty dates 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, once the Flood had ended. So it is with us. The wander through Lent leads us to the joy of Easter, to the victory of the New Covenant. We might wonder why God predicted never to purify the earth with another torrent. Didn’t great wickedness appear again on the earth, even in Noah’s own epoch? Did the Flood certainly wield? It certainly worked to teach the world that wickedness must eventually be judged. However, it would take a different kind of “bath” to shower the human heart clean of blasphemy. God would never need to send another Flood, because it had already served the object and purpose, placing beyond itself to the water that they are able to definitively cleanse the earth clean–baptism, the liquid of new life.
Possible response: Heavenly Father, please help me keep the goal of covenant pleasure 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 school and navigate us, establishing 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 constitute us able to obey. So , now, we can, in all sincerity, pray: “Your roads, O LORD, make known to me; teach me Your paths.” This is able to our heart’s desire in Lent. In the simplicity of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we seek to cut away distractions and loads that harden our hearts and clear us dull to God’s adore. The psalmist knows that God’s compassion and enjoy “are from old.” He have never been deflecting down to be kind and good to us. In Lent, we can confess with the psalmist: “Your lanes, O Lord, are love and truth to the persons who hinder Your covenant.”
Possible response: The hymn is, itself, its answer to our other deciphers. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading( Read 1 Pet 3:18 -2 2)
This passage contains two poems that have amazed exegetes for centuries, and the debate about their implication has still 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 interprets. Let’s thus avoiding that.
St. Peter tells us, “Christ abode for blasphemies once, the blameless for the unrighteous, that He might result you 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 reverence 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 infinite to examine the many different interpretations that have appeared over the years in which Christians have spoken them. The most recent scholarship suggests that the compositions describe Jesus’ descent into Hades, the abode of the dead. He started 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 sorrow after demise ). Instead, according to Jewish tradition in Jesus’ day, they refer to fallen angels who tempted and tormented humankind 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 blameless dead of the Old Testament for enter into Heaven, He also affirmed( “preached”) Himself Conqueror of evil to the infernal feelings whose ability had just been crushed by His redeeming death.”( Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, pg 456)
The real lunge of this quotation, 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 submission of Jesus has acquired this for us. In Lent, we aim to enter more perfectly into this gift of lifetime to us. Once, Jesus did battle with a intense, hateful antagonist. Now, He has “gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, permissions, and abilities subject to the provisions contained in Him.”
King Jesus, result 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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