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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Alone in the Wilderness


1st Sunday of Lent
 18 February 2018
First reading: Genesis 9:8-15

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.           

Second reading:  1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the desert. He was in the desert forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Reflection
by Carlo Alexis Malaluan

 … the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

What spirit drives me in the things I do? Is my heart a home for the Spirit? Could the Holy Spirit be inviting me to take more quiet space? My friends, these are the questions that are posed by today’s Gospel befitting enough as we begin our observance of the holy season of Lent.

Wilderness connotes two different things: emptiness and intimacy. In the wilderness, one might find the loneliness and solitude – it is a terrifying image of abandonment. But the Lord who makes things anew gave a new meaning to wilderness. In the Bible, the ‘wilderness’ is a place of revelation and of intimacy with God. God is found in emptiness as well as in fullness. Wilderness has become a sacred space and God is inviting us to fully commune with Him.

But as we try to commune with God, seeking to be closer to Him in this sacred space, the enemy wants to distract us and make us stray away from the fullness of this encounter. Mark’s Gospel depicts Jesus as divine but also deeply human. Only God could be so human as to endure temptation. He was too, just like any of us, tempted in every way. He felt the influence of the devil and was tested. Each time we feel that we are tempted, let us always call upon the mercy of the Lord who in His humanity experienced such. May we strive our best to avoid the pits of hell and live in accordance with the will of God.

Jesus enters the wilderness for one purpose only: to find God, to seek God and to belong to Him totally. Jesus finds God's path for Him in the wilderness. Only then does He come into Galilee and proclaim the Good News.

Let us also enter our own wilderness, no matter how dry, how empty, how desolate, how sorrowful it may seem and try to find God there. It is easy to find God in triumph and in blissful moments but to find God in the midst of trials, in moments when He seems to be silent is more fruitful. When we think we can no longer hear God, let us seek for His voice and He will answer us. He will come to us in our search and with His tender voice, he will say:  I am ever with you.

We are not alone in our wilderness. We are in constant journey with God. We are in communion with God.
Prayer

Lord, come with me into my wilderness. Speak to my preoccupied heart. Allow me to know what You want me to do so that I can share Your Good News with others. Amen.

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