Is there an underlying theme to today’s readings? In the first (Gen 9:8-15) it is the covenant with Noah. In the second (1 Peter 3:18-22), Jesus is brought to life in the spirit. In the Gospel (Mark 1:12-15), the spirit drove Jesus out to the desert.
Hilarously with that last description, I am picturing a Jeep 4×4, dust kicking up from the tires but that’s merely one way to bring these ancient texts to our current lives, and make them relevant.
Are there times that we feel the temptations similar to what Jesus felt in the desert? Are we confident in G-d’s covenant with us? How often since baptism do we rely on the Spirit to guide us or ask us the right questions?
In the prayer after the communion, we are renewed now with heavenly bread, by which faith is nourished, hope increased, and charity strengthened.
Begin your Lenten journey here and at home. Take the time, just a few moments each day to reflect on where you are and where you intend to be at the end of the forty days in the desert.
The readings I provide are from The Word Among Us, the Lent edition for 2018.
I would also recommend two resources that I am using this year:
The first is the devotional provided by my parish, but that you can obtain through the link: Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2018 by Michelle Francl-Donnay. I love her tone. It feels like me, and not impossible to follow through on. More pragmatic than spiritual feeling, but still completely spiritual. “Look for signs of G-d scattered through your daily life…” is her advice, and something I attempt every day since becoming Catholic.
The second is America magazine and Father James Martin’s Examen podcast. He posts a new one each week, and takes you through the steps of the Ignatian Examen of looking back over your day and seeing G-d. I thought that hearing the same recording every day would be boring, but it is as refreshing on the last day of the week as the first.
I begin my day with Michelle’s book and my journal and end my day with Fr. Jim.
Find what works for you, and please share your intentions and practices here. We learn from one another.
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”
1 Peter 3:18-22
Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”