February 22, 2015

1st Sun. of Lent

February 22, 2015:  1st Sunday of Lent

  • People on tie, ' 'bird,' tame and wild animals pins:  I'm establishing a covenant with you and every living creature... (1st reading); Jesus was among wild beasts (gospel)
  • 'Boat' tie bar: ...that came out of the ark (1st reading); the spirits in prison had been disobedient while the ark was being built (2nd reading)
  • Blue shirt: Never shall creatures be destroyed by flood waters (1st reading)
  • 'Clouds' tie, 'rainbow' on 'bird': I set my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant (1st reading)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain: The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert (gospel)
  • 'Angel' pin: Angels ministered to Jesus in the desert (gospel)

Suggestions from Ed Bolduc's blog include
Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days where he successfully overcame temptations.  Through his victory, we have triumphed, but we need to protect this victory in our daily lives.  In the wilderness we can listen to God’s and the tempter's voices.  It’s important to read the Scriptures lest we be unable to resist Satan's lure.  Read and reflect on the Gospel every day, even for just 10 minutes, and carry a copy with you.  The Lenten wilderness helps us say no to worldliness and idols and to make courageous choices in line with the Gospel and to strengthen our solidarity with others.
Accept my gift of this pocket-sized "Safeguard your heart" booklet; it has several key teachings of Jesus and tenets of our faith, including the sacraments, the gifts of the Spirit, the commandments, the virtues, and works of charity.  Let it help in your conversion and spiritual growth.  In our heart we make the daily choice between good and evil, between worldliness and the gospel, between indifference and sharing.  We can only have the justice, peace, and love we need by returning to God. 
  • Gn 9:8-15  God to Noah:  “I'm establishing my covenant with you and every living creature:  Never again shall a flood destroy all creatures.  I set my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant.
'Rainbow' cloud (1st reading)
  • Ps 25:4-9  "Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant."  Teach me your paths, guide me in your truth, for you're my savior.  Remember your compassion and love.  You show sinners the way and guide the humble to justice.
  • 1 Pt 3:18-22  Christ suffered for sins to lead you to God.  He was brought to life in the Spirit and preached to the spirits in prison.  As people were saved through water in Noah's time, baptism saves you now, appealing to God for a clear conscience through the Resurrection.
  • Mk 1:12-15  The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert, where Satan tempted him for 40 days.  He was among wild beasts, and angels ministered to him.  Then he came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
  • Creighton:  Hearing Jesus' "repent and believe" proclamation, we face a momentous decision as did the original hearers.  Am I willing to search my heart and probe my fidelity to the covenant, materialistic attitudes, indifference to the needy...?  Lent is an invitation to total renewal.  We'll be renewed to the degree we're open to God, turn from sin, and embrace Jesus' good news.
  • Christ in the desert/ Kramskoi
  • One Bread One Body:  "Beauty and the beast":  When Mark was written, Christians were thrown into an arena to be devoured by beasts, so Jesus' safety among beasts would have encouraged Mark's readers.  Today we face "beasts" of secular culture, economic tyranny, attacks on religious freedom, and so on, but the Spirit is with us as with Jesus.
  • DailyScripture.net:  40 days was seen as a significant period of testing and preparation for a covenant relationship with God.  Satan will tempt us to choose our will over God's, or at least take steps away, but God sustains all who seek his will. / "Repent and believe":  Repent = change my life so Jesus can be my Lord, surrendering what's in the way; it takes a contrite heart, sorrow for sin, and resolution to avoid occasions of sin.  Believe = take Jesus at his word, recognizing God's love and sacrifice.
  • Sacred Space:  I think today's will be my last link to this daily prayer from the Irish Jesuits.  I've gotten some feedback that the site has too much content, and this is a 'baby step' in response.  Feel free to comment with, send me your own feedback, and visit Sacred Space directly at http://www.sacredspace.ie.

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