Homily For The First Sunday Of Lent, Year B

Let Us Renew Our Covenant With God This Season

Rdgs: (1st: Gen 9, 8-15; Ps 24, 4-9; 2nd: 1Pt 3, 18-22: Gos: Mk 1, 12-15)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

 

Today is the first Sunday of Lent, a season of Renewal. The season of Lent provides us a great opportunity to shed off our “spiritually tired and weak skin.” This is in order to wear a more durable one for our Journey. Therefore, on this first Sunday of Lent, the church invites us to renew our covenant with God.

Our first reading recounts the unconditional covenant between God and Noah who represents humanity. This is a covenant of renewal, recreation and restoration. This covenant was sealed with a rainbow as a sign of God’s faithfulness. It was also a reminder that God can, and will judge sin (Gen 9, 8- 15; 2 Pt 2, 5).

One interesting thing about this covenant is that we share in it. Another interesting thing about it, is that even in our own time, we still experience the rainbow which is a visible sign of this covenant. Each time we see this sign, it should remind us of God’s promise: “When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bows appear, I will recall the covenant between myself and you…”

This means that, in his justice, God has been faithful to this covenant, to the extent of offering his own son Jesus Christ in order to renew it. Unfortunately, humanity has been unfaithful to God and his covenant. Therefore, this season, God offers us another opportunity to renew our covenant with him through Christ.

In the second reading, Peter reminds us of God’s New Covenant with us through Christ. He paid the great price in order to restore us to God. In other words, Christ renewed and strengthened the covenant with his own blood. He did this by opening the spring of baptism through which we were purified and restored to God.

This is the renewal of the covenant on God’s Part. Hence, all of us who were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ have taken part in this new covenant. Each year, the church, the bride of Christ, provides us a new opportunity through the period of Lent to reflect upon this covenant. She also gives us the opportunity to renew our commitment to it. Hence, Paul reminds us that: “Now is the favorable time; the day of salvation(2 Cor 6, 2).

Our gospel from Mark narrates the temptation of Jesus, and the sacrifice he made in order to prepare himself for his mission and journey. To be a worthy lamb for the renewal of God’s covenant with his people, Jesus had to be tested. Peter states this clearly: “As gold is tested by fire so shall your faith be (1 Pt 1, 7).

Therefore, today’s gospel reminds us that, as Christ was tested, so shall we all be tested. Every day of our lives, the devil tempts us, and he will continue doing so. However, this should not frighten us, because the Holy Spirit that helped Christ is always available to help us. It is also a reminder, that temptation is inevitable in our Christian journey.

As we prepare to renew our covenant with God, just like Christ, we must persist in prayer, fast and abstinence. We must ask God to grant us the strength to endure till the end of our own test as Christ did. Also, we must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with humility, courage, and patience this season.

Finally, let us sincerely make use of this period of Lent to ask God for forgiveness for all the moments we have not been faithful to our covenant with him. So, with the psalmist, let us praise him for his faithfulness: “Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.”

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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