Water can destroy life and give life. We have seen the terrible power of water in floods, hurricane, and violent storms. We also experience the power of water to nourish, heal and cleanse. Noah’s story begins with a destructive flood but ends in God’s promise of an everlasting covenant. Here we see how God makes this commitment to preserve and protect the whole world and all its creatures, human and beast alike for the whole created world matters to Him. The destructive waters of the flood now become the saving waters of Baptism.
In Mark’s Gospel we see the unfolding of Jesus mission after living in harmony with God and all creation in the desert. Jesus announces, “God’s reign has come near.” And truly God is near, within, and around us – (the reality in which Jesus lived in the desert). Jesus’ relationship with God mirrors the relationship to which He calls us when He made us his children.
On this first Sunday of Lent we focus on the baptismal water that cleansed us of sins and also reminds us of our need for constant cleansing and renewal. Jesus went to the desert and was exposed to the temptations of the devil. We are aware of how we are also exposed to various kinds of temptations as we are driven into our Lenten desert of 40 days. This is a time to renew our covenant with God. It will entail moving away from whatever that distracts us. We can always go back to our practices of prayer, fasting and abstinence, almsgiving and charitable work. We can proclaim an electronic fast, stay out of unnecessary stores, and try a Lenten workout.
It can hurt a little and it takes effort to do these deeds!
As disciples of Jesus we need to be living the life of Christ. We have to look for that desert where we can be alone with God and feel His presence. During this Lent we are invited to live with Jesus in his desert experience, to undergo trials with Him and to come out of the desert at the end, ready to proclaim the Kingdom of God. And with God’s Spirit we will overcome sin and evil. We will not be all alone in our desert; God is there for us! And we will find some life saving water in the desert to nourish us.
Rev. Fr. Reynaldo A. Domagas
This reflections on the Readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent appears in the Sunday Bulletin of Our Lady of Victory Church, New York, February 26, 2012.