Sunday, February 22, 2015, is the 1st Sunday of Lent. The readings will be Genesis 9:8-15; 1 Peter 3:18-22; and Mark 1:12-15.
As God speaks to Noah in this Sunday’s first reading, God refers to the covenant he has made with Noah, with Noah’s descendants, and with every living creature with Noah. God uses the word “covenant” four times. And we ourselves will repeat the word each time we join in the psalm refrain, “your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.” God makes a promise to be a God of life. Even when we human beings fail, God will not threaten us with total destruction. God will continue to love us. That is the nature of “covenant.”
The brief passage we will hear from the beginning of Mark’s Gospel proclaims that “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus, who now begins his public ministry after his time in the desert, is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with us. He is our salvation and will teach us how to truly live in a covenant relationship with God. We are to begin, Jesus tells us, by believing in the Gospel that he proclaims, and repenting – we are to change our lives in response to the Gospel’s challenges and in imitation of Jesus.
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