March 1: First Sunday of Lent

William Blake, Christ in the Wilderness, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him (NRSV, Mark 1:13).

Gospel: Mark 1:9-15)

Let us pray.

Father, to be human is to exist in space and time. We move from here to there, remembering the past and looking forward to the future. Right now we are entering the holy season of Lent in which we shall spend the next forty days. We are with the Israelites in the desert and with Jesus in the wilderness. This is the time set aside each year to discover more fully who we are and what we are called to be.

Even though we live in time and space and we set aside seasons for penance and seasons for rejoicing, and rightly so, it is finally in the moment, the here and now, that all is lived out. Real death is not the physical death which inevitably awaits us at a future moment. Real death is the dying to everything that we are and have been up to the moment that we may be reborn to divine life now in the moment. The moment is always crisis because all can be lost or gained.

To be human is always to be in the desert with the wild beasts of our own sinfulness and the effect of the sins of all humanity weighing us down so that we may choose other than the life which the Word always offers to us.

Father, may we always be responsive to the gift of your life, divine life, which you offer to us through the Word in the moment that we may grow constantly in everything that you are.

Through Christ our Lord
. Amen.

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