1st Sunday of Lent – 2018

1LB18.   Genesis 9:8-15.  God washes away sin by washing away the sinners.  With the saintly survivors God makes a covenant to never again devastate the earth and its mortal beings by another flood.

Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9.  “Good and upright is the Lord, thus he shows sinners the way.”  Now he wishes to conquer sin by personally guiding each sinner.  The refrain is: “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.”  Through his truth and love God shows the way to heaven to those who wish to be obedient to Him.

Mark 1:12-15.  For forty days Jesus remained in the desert so to call us to remain the desert of Lent to repent of our sins, replacing our sinful ways with the spiritual life that comes to us through the gospel.  The never-ending temptations of the devil serve to force us to become more consciously dependent on the Holy Spirit and less complacent and careless about our spiritual life.  As long as we are alive in this world, i.e. in the flesh, we are, so to speak, “among the wild beasts,” i.e. the powerful allurements of this world.  Everyday our baptismal commitment or covenant to be members of the kingdom of God is challenged.

1 Peter 3:18-22.  By suffering and dying for us on the cross, Jesus enabled us to follow him in his resurrection and ascension to heaven.  The flood prefigured our baptism, our being cleansed of sin, so that we can join Jesus in heaven where he reigns with the Father.  Perhaps the sentence: “In it (death in the flesh) he also went to preach to the spirits in prison” recalls the sentence in the Apostles’ Creed: “he descended into hell.”  I can only guess that St. Peter means to say that Jesus went to those who died before his act of redemption, including those  who died in the flood, to offer them a chance to also be redeemed.