February 21th, 2021 – First Sunday of Lent - Cycle B
Readings: Genesis 9: 8-15, Psalm 25 “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant”, 1 Peter 3: 18-22, Mark 1: 12-15
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are at the beginning of Lent, a time of penance and interior renewal to enable us to prepare for Easter. The Church’s liturgy unceasingly invites us to purify our souls and to begin again. It commemorates the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in preparation for his years of preaching, which culminated in the cross and in the triumph of Easter. Forty days of prayer and penance, and at the end of them the temptations of Christ, which this Sunday’s Gospel recalls.
The whole episode is a mystery which humans cannot hope to understand: God is here submitting to temptation, letting the evil one have his way. A mystery indeed. But we can meditate upon it, asking our Lord to help us understand the teaching it contains. Jesus allowed this so as to give us an example of humility, and to teach us to overcome temptations that we are going to have to undergo in the course of our lives. Jesus wanted to teach us by his example that no one should consider himself exempt from any type of trail.
The Lord allows temptation, and uses it providentially to purify you, to make you holy, to detach you more from the things of earth, to lead you where He is and by the route he wants you to take, so as to make you happy, so as to give you maturity, understanding and effectiveness in your apostolic work with souls, and to make you humble. “Blessed is the man who endures trial, says the Apostle St James, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God promised to those who love him. I wish you a fruitful Lenten season.
Fr. Paschal Chester, svd