February 21, 2021 - The First Sunday of Lent
“Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from old.”
Psalm 25, Vs. 6
1 Peter 3:8-22
Gospel according to Mark 1:12-15
by Sister Joseph Fennimore, OSB
The last eleven months have been difficult and challenging for all of us as we have had to deal with the coronavirus. We have had to rearrange our lives on many different levels. Many have had to stop what they are doing and confine themselves to their houses. This is seen in carrying out jobs and occupations at home, in activating and monitoring our children’s education in living rooms, dens, etc., in curtailing face to face visits with the members of our families. Needless to say, this way of life has been hard.
In the light of the above I would like to suggest that we do not add hard penances to our Lenten activities. Instead let us look at and meditate on God’s love for us. Let us take time to consider the help and care he has given us in the past year. Let us make ourselves available to his graces and pray daily to know his love better and to grow in the virtue of hope. These are ways we can put our lives in order, which is what we are called to do during Lent.
All the readings for this first Sunday of Lent contain actions that bring order to life. In the reading from Genesis God’s covenant with Noah and the cosmos were a way of putting order in the world after the chaos of the flood. God’s great love for humankind was behind this universal covenant. The earth and its inhabitants were too precious to God to be wiped out again. We see the sign of this promise in the rainbow that stretches across the sky. The second reading from the first letter of St. Peter tells us we are saved by baptism which removes sin and brings us grace through which our life is put in order. Mark’s Gospel tells about Jesus in the desert confronting Satan. Through pray and fasting Jesus defeats the devil. He does not let Satan destroy the order in his life. He returns to Galilee to teach and show others an ordered way of life.
Let us spend time during this Lenten season thinking about God’s love for us, about the gifts he is giving us, how he has sustained us in this difficult year. God’s love is absolute and enduring. Do we believe this?
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Never lose hope in God’s mercy.” Rule of Benedict, Chapter 4:74
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4b