Year B: First Sunday of Lent
The Gospel: Mark 1: 12-15
In todayís Gospel, Mark deals with the Temptation of Jesus in the desert in a couple of sentences. He gives no details of what temptations Jesus was subjected to - simply that he was tempted by Satan - was with the wild beasts and that angels looked after him.
The passage comes directly after Jesus was baptised by John and the Spirit has come upon him. The Spirit who shows Godís favour now takes Jesus apart for a time into the wilderness. Here, apart from wild beasts and angels he is alone. We know the nature of the temptations from Matthew and Lukeís Gospels - basically, what did Godís favour resting on him actually mean? What was being the Chosen One of God going to require of him. In the silence of the desert, Jesus discerned the mission that lay before him.
Mark passes over the details to concentrate on the effect that the time in the desert had on Jesus. when John was imprisoned and silenced, Jesus took on the role of proclaiming the Good News - calling people to repent and to believe.
The difference was that John had been prophesying an event waiting to happen - Jesus was proclaiming something happening in the present. He was proclaiming a kingdom being built even as he spoke.
There is a temptation to read any Gospel story as if it only existed as a record of a past event. This is never the case - and particularly at this time with this one. The Kingdom is not complete - it is being built even today. Jesus still calls people to repent - and to believe the Good News.
As we begin another Lent, todayís Gospel reminds us that no matter how many Lents we have lived through, the call is as urgent as it ever was. We have lived another year and become involved in many things which may have distracted our attention from our spiritual lives and our role in building Godís Kingdom on earth.
Today, we are
reminded of the call of Jesus - and invited to listen and to
respond. Over the next few weeks, we can restore things to a
proper balance between our spiritual and material lives and,
hopefully, find that when the two are in harmony each benefits
the other - we know what is it is to feel whole again.
What does it mean for me?