2-21-21 Reflection

Reflection for 1st Sunday of Lent

First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.

Most of us spend hours planning things in our lives – vacations, dinners for the week, what we’re going to do this coming weekend and where we are going. Some plans are short term, some are long term.

Common to every plan must be a goal. I want to have fun. I want to relax on my vacation etc. How much time do we invest in planning our spiritual life? How far in advance did you plan this season of Lent? Maybe, you started thinking about it when you woke up on Ash Wednesday morning. We need a goal for Lent. Somehow, some way, whatever we do this Lent should lead us closer to Jesus Christ. We should become a new creation – a re-creation on Easter Sunday.

We start this First Sunday of Lent with the words of Jesus in today’s gospel: Repent, and believe in the gospel. (Mk1:15) This is one of the forms that can be used on Ash Wednesday, when ashes are received. With these words, we now begin our Lenten journey.

In order to reform, we must recognize our sins and be willing to change. It means being aware of the needs of those we encounter each day and doing something to help them – putting aside our selfishness. In order to believe in the gospel, we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into this world to be our Savior.

In today’s second reading we read about an “appeal to God for a clear conscience.” (1Pt3:21) As Roman Catholics we know that Confession gives us a clear conscience. For me, anytime I need to make an important or difficult decision, I go to Confession – then I know I am operating with a clear conscience – and can make the decision with the help of the Holy Spirit. The sins of the past are forgiven and grace is received to do better in the future. Grace is the very divine power of God.

Sometimes we seem to be confessing the same sin or sins over and over – seemingly making no progress in this battle. We must realize that in persevering and being faithful to a spiritual practice of regular confession is the best way to rid oneself of those “same old” sins. Why? It’s all about grace again – God’s power and life freely given to us. I can witness to frequent Confession as gaining control of those “same old” sins in my life – it does work!

May God bless us always!
Deacon Mike