HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B (8)







HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B

HOMILY THEME: HE SUFFERED AND DIED TO SET US FREE. HE CAME TO CLEANSE US FROM SIN. THIS IS THE TIME OF GRACE, LET US REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.

BY: Fr. Clement C. Aladi.

 

HOMILY:

(Gn 9:8-15; I Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15) “Nothing but the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to a troubled world”

Here we are again, in the first Sunday of Lent. We live in a world of impurities. Impurities in words, thoughts and actions. A world of attachment to things and persons. A world of greed and over ambitiousness. Lent is that special time that affords us the opportunity of interior renewal of life, a time to reorder our priorities, a period to detach from the worldly and attach to the spiritual. A time of self re-examination and repentance. A time to solidify our resolutions by acquiring more grace to sustain them. These we can achieve through Prayer, fasting/abstinence and Almsgiving/self control.

The readings of today has direct or indirect reference to Baptism, symbolizing the renewal and cleansing power of God that qualifies us as children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven through the waters of Baptism.This is the heart of the paschal mystery. Lent is that special time we prepare for this renewal through the paschal mystery we celebrate.

The first reading speaks of God’s covenant with Noah after the great deluge. This is God’s first covenant in which He promises a perpetual providential relationship with natural creation. God will never destroy the Earth again with Flood. This sounds good and consoling but why are we then destroying the world? This is the time to turn away from any form of activity that does not advance and enhance life on earth. Any activity that is dangerous to or that threatens human life and health. Let us work in consonance with God’s promises.

This narrative of the great Deluge in the book of Genesis was also intended to remind us of our present Covenant with God at our baptism and to reinforce our commitment to it. The waters of the great deluge symbolizes the cleansing water of baptism in which we all participate in .May that interior cleansing renew our life in this Lenten season as we purify our selves from all stains of sin and corruption.

The Second reading from the Letter of St. Peter was written to strengthen the faith of persecuted Christians. We too are persecuted in one way or the other, so this reading serves to bolster our faith too. Peter reminds us all of our place in the larger history of God’s providence in order to help us see our present sufferings in a larger context. He says an outward sign of the Covenant that God made with his people through Jesus is Baptism. Baptism not only removes Original Sin but is also our birth into Christ. Peter points out that the waters of Baptism are an antitype of the waters of the flood. The flood waters destroyed almost all the people except Noah’s family. The waters of Baptism on the other hand are the cleansing agent that saves all.

Unlike Mathew and Luke that gave a detailed account of Jesus’ temptation in the Desert during his 40 days of fasting and prayer following his baptism, Mark in today’s gospel gives us a brief account of this Temptation in the desert. The desert was the place where ancient Israel in Moses’ time was tested for 40 years. The 40 days of Jesus’ fasting may also recall the 40-day fasts undertaken by Moses (Dt 9:18) and Elijah (1 Kgs 19:8). Mark does not mention that Christ fasted for the forty days and nights, but the “desert” seems to imply this. Nor does Mark specify the various “temptations” as Matthew and Luke do. The temptations described by Matthew and Luke and hinted at by Mark refer probably to the main temptation Jesus faced during his public life, namely, the temptation to become a political messiah of power and fame (according to the Jewish expectation), to use his Divine power for personal comfort, and to avoid suffering and death.

The temptations in the life of Jesus came at a time when he is most vulnerable to fall. It came at a time when he is in to prepare for a great mission that lies ahead of him. The devil is a great timer he knows when you are weak and likely to fall , he knows when you are preparing to achieve something great or about beginning a great mission of accomplishment. We are not immune to temptations, if God was tempted then we too must be put to test. The assurance is this, God will never tempt us or allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. But He will permit us to be tempted. Why? Here are the five reasons given by the Fathers: i) so that we can learn by experience that [with God] we are indeed stronger than the tempter; ii) to prevent us from becoming conceited over having God’s gifts; iii) that the devil may receive proof that we have completely renounced him; iv) that by the struggle we may become even stronger; and v) that we may realize how precious is the grace we have received.

Lent is that time we declare war on sin and build up sufficient grace to run our Christian race. This is a time of great preparation to overcome the devil in order to be victorious as our Lord. Be careful child of God. Be firm and resolute in this battle, don’t give the devil that chance to pull you down. If our Lord overcame, we too shall overcome.

May the first public words of Jesus “the time is fulfilled the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel.” re-echo in our minds. This message summarizes the purpose of Jesus’ ministry. In this statement Jesus is not asking his audience to do or not to do something to shape their future in Heaven. He is concerned with the here and now. Repentance, (metanoia) is a change of mind and heart, a lifelong process of transformation. Let us in this period of Lent, make a firm resolution to live a life worthy of our calling as God’s children. Let us make reparation for our sins through penance and prayer so as to grow in Christian maturity.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET
To participate in the Mass each day or at least a few days in the week; b) setting aside some part of our day for personal prayer; c) reading some Scripture, alone or, better still, with others; d) setting aside some money that we might spend on ourselves for meals, entertainment or clothes and giving it to the poor; e) abstaining from smoking or alcohol; f) receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Lent and participating in the “Stations of the Cross” on Fridays or any day set aside by your Parish; g) visiting the sick and those in nursing homes and doing some acts of charity, kindness and mercy every day in the Lent.

May this Lenten season bring you abundant graces from God as you struggle to overcome sin.

I keep you are your family always in my prayers.

Clement C. Aladi.

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