Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
March 1 A.D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
A reflection on today's Scripture:
The season of Lent began this past Wednesday.
I can remember when I, as a young priest, was distributing ashes for the first time. In my nervousness, I dumped half of the dish on the lily-white frontal piece of one of the Sisters of St. Joseph piously kneeling at the altar rail. Although she has long since forgiven me, I still think of that every year as we sing, "We rise again from ashes!"
Yes, every year we rise again from the ashes of our sins and failures "to create ourselves anew." Every year we take a journey, a pilgrimage through penance, self-discipline, prayer, and hopefully, an abundance of good works, to the refreshing Easter waters of renewal.
Our first reading is about God's complete disgust with the human race -- all except Noah and his family. Because of this just man and his family, God instructed him to build an ark so that he could escape the avenging flood-waters that would destroy all other living creatures. After forty days, that ark must have been a rather smelly place! As Noah stepped out of the ark, he breathed new freshness from a world washed clean by water.
Lent can help wash our world clean as we go from the ashes of war, the murder of innocent children both in and out of their mothers' wombs, and the greed that has brought such economic misery to both the guilty and the innocent.
This Lent, may we seek through God's grace to rid ourselves of laziness and blindness and come to a renewal of all the covenants God has made with us, beginning with the one He made with Noah, leaving a rainbow of hope in the sky even to this day. Lent brings to us a greater appreciation for the Passion and Death of Jesus as He made for all of us a New Covenant in His blood.
The Gospel gives Mark's abbreviated story of Christ's temptation in the desert by Satan. The other evangelists fill in more details. Jesus experienced the same temptations the devil uses on all humans -- the temptations to comfort and sensual appetites, the temptations to abuse whatever power we have, the temptations to pride and possessions.
As Jesus went into the desert, so we should seek out a quiet place for reflection and renewal, for refreshing talks with Jesus, inviting our family members to do the same.
Remember the words of Jesus as He began His public ministry:
This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, March 1, 2009
First Sunday of Lent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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