Daily Reflection
March 12th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The First Sunday of Lent
Genesis 9:8-15
Psalms 25:4-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

The next sunday in Ordinary time will be July second.  Between now and then we celebrate various seasons in the liturgical year beginning this week with Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday of Lent.

This is a "joyful season," because it is a time for growing.  Here in the northern half of the globe, spring and Lent go together; Lent actually comes from the German word for "spring."  It is the time for raking away the deadly things and rearranging and straightening our gardens and our spirits. 

It is also a "joyful Season," because we, as a Church, are preparing to receive those who will enter full-communion with us at the Easter Vigil.  They are presently being introduced to our faith and its traditions and ways.  We join more closely during these days of final preparation, lest we be embarrassed by their finding in us a community, not being faithful to what they had expected.  We will renew our own baptismal promises at Easter with them and so, in a sense, we are also preparing to re-enter, and perhaps more deeply, the Catholic Church.

This Sunday's first reading pictures God promising never to flood the earth again with water, even though there may be reason for God to be angry.  When God sees the unprepared and unresponsive human family, God promises also to see a rainbow which will be the covenantal sign of God's ever-lasting love and mercy.

The second reading is a baptismal instruction to those baptized recently.  As Noah was saved from the waters of destruction by being in the ark, those who have been baptized in the flood-waters of Christ, are saved by being in the ark of Christ. 

The gospel pictures Jesus being lead out into the desert for forty days and then returning to proclaim that "the kingdom of God is at hand."  Jesus, as did the Jews before Him, was lead out to face Himself and His demons.  The Jews wandered for forty years facing themselves and whether they believed and trusted in God's care. 

WE have begun our forty-day prayer-journey.  It is our time to face ourselves and our demons.  It is a time for seeing if we are doing what is good for us and whether we know what is good for us, at all.

We could give up doing those things which are harmful to our spirits as well as our bodies and our relationships.  As well, we could spend these days doing actions of charity which are both good for others and very good for our souls. 

We are the church into which others want to come and pray and live out their faith with us.  We are invited to check whether we are worthy of their entering.  They have been examined and checked themselves to see if they are of the right spirit.  We spend time seeing if we are of the right spirit ourselves.

There are many things to do for our outside-the-house lives; raking, picking up, washing, rearranging plans and getting ready for the growing season.  There is much to do also for the inside-our-selves, selves.  We are offered time, liturgy and encouragement to re-church, re-enjoy and re-lent.

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