Gospel Reflection for February 18, 2024 – 1st Sunday of Lent
Sunday Readings: Genesis 9.8-15; 1 Peter 3.18-22; Mark 1.12-15
Immediately after his baptism the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert. There for 40 days Satan tested him. He was with wild beasts, and angels ministered to him. After John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, saying “The time is fulfilled. God’s reign has come near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1.12-15).
Jesus’ relationship with God mirrors the relationship to which he calls us. We are God’s beloved. The Spirit drives us, too. Really knowing this in our bones empowers our deepest, best selves to reach out in warmth, hospitality, healing, hope, and deep care for those around us. Like Jesus, our lives in the embrace of God lead us to bring God near to others.
Lent is a beginning and renewal for many. Lent is when catechumens intensify their preparation to enter the waters of baptism. Lent is when the whole Christian community makes a concerted effort to renew our baptismal vows and celebrate resurrection as something that happens not only to Jesus but to the whole community
Earth awakens into spring despite the burdens we humans put upon it capacity to sustain life. Lent moves purposefully and relentlessly toward Easter, even in the midst of sorrow, suffering, and global peril.
The Spirit impels Jesus into ministry. Israel’s desert areas are rocky, spacious hills that can green with rain. capacity to sustain life. Lent moves purposefully and relentlessly toward Easter, even in the midst of sorrow, suffering, and global peril. Lent says, “We are choosing hope, and we are choosing new life.”
The practices we choose for Lent symbolize our hopes. We say in effect that we believe new life can come. We believe that we have the power of the Spirit within us to initiate transformation in the world. In Sunday’s gospel Jesus says, “Reform your lives and believe in the good news.” The good news is that everything is possible—not easy, but possible.
In the midst of wars and rumors of wars, acts of violence, poverty, inattention to climate change, and too sparing educational opportunities for millions of people, we still choose hope. We choose resurrection. We choose to act for change.
- When have you had a sense that you are God’s beloved?
- What is one way you act in hope of change?