Lent: A journey that sets us free

on 18 Feb, 2021
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REFLECTION: First Sunday of Lent: Gen 9:8-15, 1 Peter 3:18-22 and Mark 1:12-15

Bangalore (India), 02/21/2021, Sr. Anula Irvin Suguna.- Each year Lent invites us to take stock of our lives, to look at what we do: our choices, our behaviours, our actions and reactions. It is a challenge to look into ourselves and recognize the truth of who we are. Church offers us this time of grace to re-enter our inner self and bring order in our lives, through fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

 

The Liturgy of the Word in this First Sunday of Lent presents different imageries like water, rainbow, desert, angels, wild beasts, 40 (a period of testing) and so on. All these imageries speak of the closeness of God, His intervention, His relationship and His love for His people. For our reflection, we will just take two imageries: Water and Desert.

Water: The destructive waters of the great flood that cleansed the sin of the people, at the time of Noah (Gen 9:8-15), is transformed into life-giving waters of baptism in the New Testament (1 Pt 3:18-22). The flood and the rite of baptism are “twin expressions” of the saving act of God, of providing a way through death into life. Since the flood had a destructive effect, what does Peter mean when he says that eight persons were saved “through water”? (1Pt 3:20). Peter considers Noah’s deliverance through the waters of the flood a prefiguration and type of the saving grace of baptism. As the flood waters cleansed the earth of man’s wickedness, so the waters of baptism cleanses a person from his/her sin.

Desert: Mark gives a short description unlike Mathew and Luke with regard to the temptation of Jesus, “At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan” (Mk 1: 12-13).

Lent is a time to enter into the desert to wrestle with the mysteries of life through silence, prayer and personal reflection. Life is continually a place of trial, we are literally “being put to the test” everyday especially at this Covid times. Lot of uncertainties within us and around us, often the question is what next? How will we get out of it? It is easy to lose hope and get discouraged. Shall we not approach the Lord of Noah and of Peter who saved them from the greatest floods and tempests and who rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still”? (Mk 4:39).

At certain moments we may experience trials that are too intense to handle and it may seem almost paralysing us. Those dark “nights” are when God is really near, near to all who call on Him in truth (Ps 145: 18).

Let us undertake this journey of Lent and withdraw into our desert with Jesus during these 40 days. If you seek Him, you will find Him (Dt 4:29) and He will also find you. In that encounter with the silence inside, everything in us raises its voice and we become “animated to have recourse with all the more confidence and fidelity to the One in whom we can do all” (Rule of Sainville III).

1. What are you called to fast from to get your life back in order?
2. What will be a symbol of your relationship with God that reminds you to return to God constantly?