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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 1st (B) of Lent

1st Reading (Gen 9:8-15): God said to Noah and to his sons with him: «See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth». God added: «This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings».
Responsorial Psalm: 24
R/. Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord.

Good and upright is the Lord, thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, and he teaches the humble his way.
2nd Reading (1Pt 3:18-22): Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 4:4): One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Gospel text (Mk 1,12-15): At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

«The Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan»

+ Fr. Joan MARQUÉS i Suriñach (Vilamarí, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgy of the first Sunday of Lent. The Gospel presents Jesus readying for his public life. He goes into the desert where He spends forty days in prayer and in penance. There, He is tempted by Satan.

We must also get ready for Easter. Satan is our great enemy. There are many persons that do not believe in him, and claim that he is a product of our fantasy, or he is just an abstract conception of evil, diluted in the people and the world. But no!

The Holy Scriptures mention him quite often as a spiritual and tangible being. He is a fallen angel. Jesus defines him by saying: “he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44). St. Peter compares him with a roaring lion: “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Pe 5:8). And Saint Paul VI teaches: “The Devil is the number one enemy, the preeminent tempter. So we know that this dark and disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning”.

And how does he act? By lying, by deceiving. Where there are lies or deceit, there is a devilish action. “The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist” (Baudelaire). And, how does he lie? He presents us with evil actions as if they were good ones; he induces us to do evil; and, in the third place, he suggests plenty of excuses to justify our sins. After swindle us, he fills us up with anxiety and sadness. Have you not felt any such experience, ever before?

What should be our attitude in front of temptation? Before: to watch, to pray and to avoid the occasions. In the middle of temptation: direct or indirect resistance. Afterwards: if you have won, thank God for that. A defeated temptation is progress in sanctity. And, if you have failed, ask for forgiveness and try to learn from experience in future. Which attitude have you shown so far?

The Virgin Mary crushed the infernal serpent's head. Let Her give you the necessary strength to overcome our daily temptations.