The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
It’s Lent—and your covenant is “up for renewal.”
A covenant is an agreement that binds two parties. In today’s first reading from Genesis, we hear of the agreement God makes with Noah, never again to destroy the earth by water. In return, Noah and his family were to populate the earth.
In every Mass, during the Eucharistic prayer, we hear Christ’s words, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant….” In Christ, the ancient relationship between God and humankind has taken on a human face.
Why do I say Lent is a time to renew your covenant? Well, in centuries past, Lent was observed as a time of penance. With the renewal of the catechumenate—the process of becoming a Christian—the Church now sees Lent as a time of preparation for those to be baptized at Easter, and a time of renewal of Baptism for all the rest of us. The Lenten penances we choose—and they’re still appropriate—are signs of “covenant renewal,” our pledge to deepen our commitment of love and service.
In Mark’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus calls us to that kind of repentance and renewal. In the Lenten Sunday readings this year, listen for the theme of “covenant.” In these weekly reflections, I’ll be pointing out the “covenant connection” from each Sunday’s Scriptures.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
This week’s first reading (Gen 9:8-15), is about God’s renewal of the covenant with Noah after the great flood. Besides Noah and his family’s descendants, what else is included?
What is the sign of this renewed covenant that will be a reminder of the renewed covenant?
Who needs this reminder?
How does the second reading (1Pet 3:18-22), interpret the ark where eight persons (Noah, his wife, and their sons and wives) were saved from the flood?
What is the connection between the flood and the sacrament of Baptism?
According to the Gospel (Mark 1:12-13), to what place did the Spirit drive Jesus?
What happened to Jesus there?
Then, after John the Baptizer had been arrested, what did Jesus do?
Draw a picture of what you think the scene from the first reading would have looked like with all those animals coming off of the ark.
We are now in the season of Lent. Think about what you have decided to give up or do for the next 40 days. Reflect and write about why you decided to take up this sacrifice and what you hope to learn from it. This article might help.
Check out these frequently asked questions about Lent and Easter.