Meditation for 1st Sunday of Lent

First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: First Peter 3:18-22
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
Jesus in the desert fulfills where Israel in the desert failed.  After passing through the water, in His baptism in the Jordan, Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days and nights to undo the damage that Israel did after they passed through the waters of the Red Sea and were in the desert for 40 years.
Israel fell into temptation
  1. with hunger, so God supplied manna and quail meat for them;
  2. with wanting signs that God’s presence was still with them (that God had not abandoned them), so God instructed Moses to strike the rock, so that water would flow from it;
  3. with worshipping an idol (the golden calf), instead of the one, true God.

Jesus had to correct this, so when he faced each temptation, he was rewarded accordingly.

  1. In overcoming the hunger-driven temptation to turn stones to bread, he was then able to turn bread into himself (in the Eucharist).
  2. In overcoming Satan’s desire for a sign and refusing to cast himself down, the Father raised him up on the third day.
  3. In overcoming the temptation of an easy (but false) earthly rule, by refusing to bow before Satan, God bestowed upon him the name above all other names, so that every knee shall bend – in heaven, on earh, and under the earth – and every voice proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

At this "proch of Lent" (the first half-week), as we offer our sacrifices, we should follow Christ’s example from the desert.

  1. Are we just sacrificing good things for the sake of sacrifice alone, or are we doing it to correct some deficiency or disorder?
  2. Are we following the rules, in not murmuring against and tempting God?  Are we instead trying to discern God’s will for our lives?
  3. Are we continually recognizing God as the supreme value in our lives, above money (almsgiving), food (fasting), and anything else (prayer)?

This is only possible through a personal knowledge of God, and that only comes through prayer and the Scriptures (the Bible).  A helpful method for truly reading the Bible was set by St. Benedict for his monks to follow:

  1. Read the Scriptures
  2. Reflect (meditate) upon them
  3. Respond to them (live them out)
  4. Relish them (make them the joy of your life)

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you and He shall grant you the desires of your heart.

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