Year B First Sunday in Lent

Mark 1: 12 – 15

Be with us, Lord Jesus.  Be our companion of our way.  In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope, so that, in union with one another, we may recognise you in the Scriptures and in the breaking of Bread.

Jesus mission is to defeat evil in all its manifestations.

This conflict and Jesus’ victory;

is a theme which permeates the whole of Mark’s Gospel.  The battle is against all that is harmful to humanity – to me – to those close to me – to my community – to the whole world.  Goodness is on the offensive and each of us is called to be a “paratrooper” in this victorious battle.  Come, let us lift the burdens that weigh heavily on people.

READ

Take time to read our text, out loud, several times, allowing the words to filter into you.  Take special note of the way it is set out.  How does this speak to you?

12At once the spirit drove him into the desert,
13and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.
He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
14After John had been arrested,

Jesus came to Galilee

proclaiming the gospel (Good News)  of (about) God.
15“This is the time of fulfilment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

REFLECT

To appreciate this reading fully it is necessary to read a few verses before and after it.  11You are my beloved son / daughter; with you I am well pleased.” Allow these words to echo through you and heed the advice of our text “BELIEVE” them.

17Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”  Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John, and us, away from the sea, the symbol of evil, and commissions us to rescue others (be fishers of men) from all that is harmful to them – selfishness, greed, prejudice, poverty, ignorance.

RESPOND (prayer)

Move through the words in blue.  Hear them being spoken to you by Jesus.  Try not to speak, just be profoundly grateful for the wonderful things that are being said to you in this time of prayer.

* * * * * *

READ

12At once the Spirit drove (drives) him into the desert, 13and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

14After John had been arrested,

“At once” There is great urgency, everything is very important.  “The Spirit drives him” We see the hand of God active in Jesus’ life.  “Into the desert” The place where evil spirits dwell. The battle has begun.  Jesus commences his life work of confronting evil in all its shapes.  This battle will continue throughout his life – this is what “forty days” means.

REFLECT

As we reflect on both parts of our reading we become aware of the parallel that runs between the events in Jesus’ life and what is taking place in our own.

We are being called “beloved”.  We find ourselves daily confronted by evil in ourselves and in the world around us.  Rest assured that goodness will triumph.

“He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”

The rabbis taught that when Adam was in Eden the animals obeyed him and the angels prepared his meals.  We all know that this arrangement no longer exists.  Mark is telling us that Jesus will restore harmony between God and humanity and between all of us humans.  In other words the “Kingdom of God” will be restored.  Through Jesus’ and our efforts the world will be the way God wants it to be.

proclaiming the gospel of God.  15“This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Once again we are left in no doubt that God is in a hurry.  This transformation of our lives and lives of others is to take place NOW!  We are told to repent. (change our way of thinking and behaving – the direction of our lives needs to shift one hundred and eighty degrees)

“Believe the Good News of (about) God.”  Our God is full of loving kindness, faithful, generous and understanding, never remaining angry with us.  A God who wants the very best for us. A God; “It is the will of your heavenly Father that not one of his little ones be lost.”  Mt 18: 14

A God who lifts burdens;

“to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (all ‘debt’ cancelled) Lk 4: 18 – 19

RESPOND (prayer)

All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.”    Mk 1: 27

Lord, we thank you in the name of all those for whom this Lent will be a season of grace, when Jesus will come into our lives.  We know that the moment we were running away from

has finally come. A life of holiness is within our grasp, we turn away from our sins and give ourselves trustingly to the new vision you are bringing about in us. de Verteuil