1st Sunday of Lent – February 21, 2021

1L21.    Genesis 9:8-15.   God establishes a new covenant that promises “that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood.”  The waters are a symbol of the force that can both destroy and generate life.  For us the waters of baptism destroy the life of sin that can come by being governed by the flesh alone but give life to those who are alive in the flesh yet draw life from the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:12-15.   Jesus lived in Nazareth preparing for his public ministry for thirty years.  For his initial entrance in that public ministry, the Holy Spirit put him on a sort of novitiate or boot camp of living “in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  Jesus was being reoriented from ordinary daily village life to his new full time work of bringing souls to the Father.  Jesus proclaims: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.”  Our forty days of Lent are also given to us to reorient us from being lost in the petty routine of worldly, material living to the real purpose of life, the sanctification of our souls.

1 Peter 3:18-22.   While there is no certainly what Peter meant when he wrote the words “Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison,” my interpretation is that Jesus went to those who had imprisoned themselves in a life that was lived only based on what their flesh and bodies demanded of them but ignored any or most spiritual needs.  The waters of baptism, as did the water of the flood, call for the washing away of all that is not of God so that we might have the “clear conscience” of a holiness of life.  In this Lenten season Jesus calls us to live subject to his kingship over us.