Sunday, February 18, 2018

First Sunday of Lent

Readings of the Day: RB 15 When the Alleluia Should Be Said
Mass: Gn 9:8-15; Resp. Ps 25; 1 P 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15

The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness.
He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan;
and he was with the wild beasts;
and the angels waited on him.

First, the Spirit descends like a dove on Jesus at his baptism. Now, the Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness. Jesus immediately faces trials. He has paved the way. We all face our own wild beasts—day in and day out. We cannot run away. St Augustine comments: ‘Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.’ The option is to face trials head on. Augustine offers this approach: ‘See yourself as tempted in Christ, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.’ Lost, bewildered, confused, overwhelmed? Jesus waits with love and patience. He teaches us; he leads us to our heavenly home where he sits ‘at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.’ Keep going. 

Jesus has to enter into the drama of human existence for that belongs to the core of his mission; he has to penetrate it completely, down to its uttermost depths, in order to find the ‘lost sheep,’ to bear it on his shoulders, and to bring it home.
(Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 26)

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