Sunday, February 21, 2021

First Sunday of Lent

Year of Saint Joseph

Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Borgoglio) created a Cardinal 20 years ago today by Pope Saint John Paul II

In other years: Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor (1007-1072)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 18:1-6 The Order of the Psalmody

Mass: Gn 9:8-15; Resp Ps 25; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15

Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old.


For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
(Heb 4:14-16)

I have liked the Gospel of Saint Mark, the shortest of all the Gospels, for some time. It is a good one to sit down with and read straight through, from beginning to end. One commentator describes it as "vivid", "where one incident follows directly upon another", it is "almost a breathless narrative". For example, in the first 13 verses of Chapter 1, we have John the Baptist in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:4); then Jesus is baptized in the Jordan by John and the Spirit descends upon Jesus, and a voice comes from the heavens: You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased (Mk 1:9-11). And today, that same Spirit drives Jesus out into the desert where Jesus remained for 40 days. And Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him (Mk 1:12-13). Whew. The narrative leaves a lot to one's imagination. I like that. Why not put yourself in the desert with Jesus. How is Satan tempting you? What are you doing about it? That's not the end of the story though. So in the name of brevity, I leave you with this, from Saint Augustine and the Office of Readings, in his commentary on the psalms.

If in Christ we have been tempted, in Him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ's temptations and fail to think of His victory? See yourself as tempted in Him, 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.
(Saint Augustine in his commentary of the Psalms, Office of Readings, First Sunday of Lent)

They will fight against you, but shall not defeat you,
-for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

You shall not fall by the sword;
I will keep you safe.
-For I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.
(Responsory, Office of Readings, First Sunday of Lent)


Today's photo: Heavenly bamboo for the First Sunday of Lent.

© Gertrude Feick 2021

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