February 18, 2018

1st Sun., Lent

February 18, 2018:  First Sunday of Lent

See about 20 connections with today?
Legend below


For the gospel
For Psalm 25
For future Sundays
Pope Francis
Angelus:  Today's gospel recalls the themes of temptation, Good News, and conversion:  The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert, where he remained for 40 days, tempted by and fighting against Satan.  Jesus has no need for conversion but must endure trials, to obey the Father's will and give us grace to overcome temptation.  For us too, Lent is a time of spiritual training and combat; we're called to face the Evil One through prayer, to be able with God’s help to overcome him in our life.  Evil is at work in and around us, wherever violence, rejection of the other, being closed, war, or injustice occurs.
Right after the temptations, Jesus began to preach the Good News.  This Good News requires conversion and faith.  He proclaims, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” Believe God's kingdom is at hand.  Every day we need conversion; never sufficiently oriented toward God, we must continually direct our mind and heart to him.  We need courage to reject what leads us astray, false values that mislead us by attracting our selfishness.  We must entrust ourselves to the Lord, his goodness, his project of love for each of us.  Lent is a time of repentance, but not a sad time!  It's a joyful and serious duty to strip ourselves of selfishness and renew ourselves.
Only God can give us true happiness: it's useless to waste time seeking it elsewhere, in riches, pleasures, power, careers....  God's kingdom is the realization of our aspirations; it's our salvation and God's glory.  Listen; take up Christ's appeal to be converted and believe.  Begin this journey towards Easter with commitment, welcome the grace of God, who desires to transform the world into a kingdom of justice and peace.  May Mary help us live with fidelity to God's Word and with incessant prayer, as Jesus did, living with the desire to welcome the love that comes from God and wants to transform our life and the world.
To Rome parish priestsPaul VI will be a saint this year.  He was a great pope, a tireless apostle, courageous in his humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church.  He held fast, never losing his joy and trust in the Lord, rendering to God what's God’s by devoting his life to continuing and extending Christ's mission, loving the Church and leading her so that she might be a loving Mother of the whole human family and minister of its salvation.
  • 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.”
  • CreightonAfter the flood, God established a new covenant, wiping away the past and beginning again, as for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Jesus shows us in his journey into the desert.  Though Satan tempted him, the Spirit guided him there.  Jesus came out prepared for future temptations, up to Gethsemane.  He could have fed himself, manipulated people into accepting him, or bargained with the devil, but instead he put himself in his Father's hands.  Lent is a journey in the desert, where it's quieter, clearer, less distracting.  Temptations are attractions, habits, escapes; the desert strips us of noise and distraction so we may see and understand better.  I can discover where I teeter between right and selfishness and discover the whole, balanced, graced life Jesus offers.  The desert can make me simpler, hungrier, more focused; that's why fasting is important.  When I'm hungry, I'm more open and listen more keenly.  Fasting from excesses creates more space for insight, recognition, and reflection.  Decompressing, clearing my schedule, slowing down, can open me to grace....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Metanoia":  Jesus began his public ministry proclaiming the need to repent and reform.  'Repent' in this passage is metanoia, turning around.  "Seek the Lord"; "turn ten times the more to seek him."  Jesus also commanded belief in the gospel.  If you turn around but not walk along the way of the Lord, you're like the one who swept the trash out but never let himself be filled with grace; bad things filled the void, and he became even worse.  Repent and believe:  turn around, walk the right path, and fill yourself with the gospel.
  • Passionist:  "Repent and follow the gospel":  At baptism, we became a new creation, clothed in white, a disciple, but then we're tempted.  Lent is a journey in the desert with Jesus, a time to look honestly at ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, where we need to ‘reboot.’  We can judge and criticize and feel guilt and shame, but Jesus just invites us to ‘name it, claim it, and let him transform it.’  Let go of whatever keeps you from building God's Kingdom....
  • 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.
Dress legend
  • People on tie, ' 'bird,' tame and wild animals pins:  Jesus was among wild beasts (gospel); I'm establishing a covenant with you and every living creature... (1st reading)
  • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  The Lord teaches the humble his way (psalm)
  • '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)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  God patiently waited during the building of the ark (2nd reading)
  • Blue shirt:  Never shall creatures be destroyed by flood waters (1st reading); God's saving persons from the flood prefigured baptism (2nd reading)
  • 'Clouds' tie, 'rainbow' on 'bird': I set my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant (1st reading)
  • 'Dove' and 'car' pins: Christ was brought to life in the Spirit (2nd reading); the Spirit 'drove' Jesus into the desert,... (gospel)
  • 'Angel' pin:  ...where angels ministered to him (gospel); angels are subject to Christ (2nd reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Christ is at God's right hand (2nd reading)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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