26 Feb – First Sunday of Lent
The Good News Of The Covenant
At the beginning of Lent we renew our response to the Covenant, the pact of love that God made with each of us at our baptism. Imagine what good news it must have been to Noah, alone in a drowned world, when he learned that God’s love had not abandoned, nor ever would abandon, the earth and its creatures.
– The Sunday Missal
God spoke to Noah and his sons, ‘See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’
God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.’
1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved only a small group of eight people ‘by water’, and when God was still waiting patiently, that these spirits refused to believe. That water is a type of the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made the angels and Dominations and Powers his subjects.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
And he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him
While taking the MRT train in Singapore, I often read this quote on the LCD screen – “It is your attitude at the beginning of a task that determines success or failure.” I think there is some truth to it. Jesus was born for the purposes of saving mankind. When he was driven into the wilderness for forty days, tested and tempted by Satan, he did not cave in but relied on the strength of God to pull through. He was, since the beginning, given by an attitude to complete God’s will for him on earth.
There is a purpose for us on earth and a meaning to why we are here. God can show us the way. After all, he took the trouble to come to earth in human-form to live and die as an example for us and to clear us of our sins. He shows us that we are precious and that each and every one of us should know that we are greatly loved by him, and to start living like we are someone greatly loved.
Lent is a time to be grateful to our loving Savior for all that he has suffered for us. We do this often by a form of sacrifice, such as smaller meals, abstinence from Facebook, or increased prayers each day. Sacrifice is a powerful tool that shows us the excess we live with everyday. Just as Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, when we find ourselves struggling to keep our observances and sacrifices, we too are experiencing a similar tussle. We will then know how difficult it was for Jesus and yet, in his human-form, he was able to resist the devil’s temptation and stay true to his path and to God. This must be encouragement to us too.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Prayer: Dear Lord, give me the strength to emerge victorious from my struggles.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for the light at the end of the tunnel.