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First Sunday of Lent

Cycle B

Gen 9: 8-15. Ps 25. 1 Pt 3:18-22. Mk 1: 12-15.

Homily on Sunday, Feubrary 18, 2024.


"The kingdom of God is at hand"

Throughout our lives, we usually make pacts; for example, when we are going to get married, when we get an important work in the government or in the church, we make a covenant among other people to testify our fidelity to the pact. A covenant is an oathbound relationship between two or more parts. Fulfilling a covenant is not easy. We may be one person who cannot fulfill his pact, we may even break it. Trusting someone is not easy because we may have experienced disappointment from somebody. When it occurs we experience sadness and discouragement.


Today, the liturgy exposes an old covenant which is renewed in our days. The first reading reminds us of the story of Noah. God established a covenant with our ancestors and promised, “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you […] never again shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” God is talking to Noah about the flood on earth, when God wanted to purify the world from injustice and sinners. That communicates that God does not want to destroy the living beings; rather, He wants life and salvation for the world.  


This text reminds us about the salvation story of how God is going to save human beings through history. God emphasizes at the end of the book, “I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings”. We will discover that God always keeps His promises; for this reason, God will fulfill the covenant. We should understand the salvation history as a challenging path. How is my Christian life? Is it easier? The Christian way is always a complicated path, it is part of human life and Jesus knows that. For this reason, He went to the desert for forty days.


Noah navigated with his family on the ark for forty days, and God saved them. For forty days Jesus withdraw to the desert to prepare himself to hold us to fulfill the covenant. God is fulfilling the covenant through Jesus. The today´s Gospel teaches how we need to prepare ourself for being saved. The Lent is the path to salvation, yet it is not a historical time; it is an experiential time. God became human, went to the desert and stayed there where He was tempted by Satan.

After the arrest of John, Jesus left the desert and began to preach the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment”. It means the covenant is going to fullness. Sometimes, sin flood our lives, and we deny the covenant from God. Today, God reminded us of His saving love, yet we need to response to his invitation in order to be saved. The Lenten season is a suitable time seeks God´s salvation.


Mark wrote the words from Jesus at the beginning of the Gospel: “The kingdom of God is at hand”; it is the covenant from God. It means that we can live in the Kingdom of God. The Lent should help to change our lives, but it is up to us. In the Gospel, the evangelist does not narrate how Jesus’s temptation was (unlike Luke and Matthew's account). The scholars suggest that the Christian community had different problems, and they would beat them through Jesus. They sat in Jesus´s place in the desert. Greed, lust, lies, and money are examples of temptation in the first Christian Community. Nonetheless, Jesus overcame temptation a time ago. The fact that Jesus was human and beat temptation suggests that we can also beat temptation. What do I need to change today?  Am I flooding in sin? Jesus wants happiness for us; it is the Kingdom of God that is the covenant.


The Lent is the time for preparing for the resurrection with Jesus, but there is no resurrection without crucifixion. The Gospel says, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. Believe in the Gospel means that I am going to live free from sin, and that I will have a new life. However, it is impossible if I am not carrying the cross with Jesus. This Lent is a time for crucifying all bad habits, sins, and addictions. Then, we will imitate Jesus, who died in the flesh; but he rice to life in the spirit; this is the covenant from God.


Lent is a good opportunity to change. I wish for everyone to get good purposes for this Lent. It´s an opportunity to change many of our attitudes and find sense in our live. We are going to the desert with Jesus; let´s allow the spirit in our hearts, and He will transform our being. “Your ways, O lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant”.

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