SUNDAY’S GOSPEL – Mark 1:12-15
And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; convert, and believe in the good news.”
The accounts of the temptation of Jesus are found in the first three Gospels. The version in Mark is the shortest and both Matthew and Luke offer an expanded conversation in the form of a rabbinic debate based on texts from Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)
POINTERS FOR PRAYER
- We are at a major turning point in the life of Jesus when he is about to start his public ministry. Mark tells us this was preceded by a deep inner struggle when his resolve to take on his God-given mission was tested. Recall important decisions in your own life. Were they accompanied by struggle and doubt? Who were the angels who supported you at that time? Give thanks for them.
- Such periods of anxiety may seem like wilderness experiences at the time with nothing positive about them. Later, with hindsight, we may see it as a necessary testing that was for our good. Perhaps, like Jesus, you recall a time when the Spirit of God led you into the wilderness to be tested and after the experience you had a clearer sense of your own identity or your purpose in life?
- The arrest of John the Baptist was the occasion of the start of the public ministry of Jesus. When has some event outside of your control unexpectedly led you into some new and fruitful activity?
- Convert and believe the good news was the heart of the message of Jesus. It was not a call to penance but to a change of heart, a change of attitude, leading to a change in behaviour. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of right relationships: with God, with one another, with creation, with ourselves. It is a change that leads to a fuller life. When have you found that a change in your attitude towards God, others, yourself, or the world around you, has led you to a more fulfilled or more fruitful life?
- There is immediacy about the call of Jesus: “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near”. Recall when you had a realisation that now was the moment of opportunity – for a change in your life, for a spiritual renewal, or a time to give a wholeheartedyes to life. At this moment to what do you believe you are invited to say yes?
What is supposed to happen to us during Lent, we are supposed to experience a springtime of faith, a time growth and new life.