First Sunday of Lent
“Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit.” I keep coming back to these words. Lent is the time each year when we reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made for us, His death, as well as the gift He gives us, eternal life in Him. Both the sacrifice and the gift are overwhelming to us. There is no way to repay God or to prove ourselves worthy of such a gift. For how can we understand the experience of dying to save humanity, or giving the gift of salvation? We cannot. As with any overwhelming gift we may receive, we can only accept it, grateful, humbled, and knowing that this gift is given without expectation of reciprocation, given out of love, given selflessly.
This gift is transformative. This gift, and the acceptance of it, changes us. We become new. As Christ died, so we die in our transgressions, and are raised to new life in the Spirit. What does this new life look like? We hear in Scripture that this baptism of water and Spirit “is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clear conscience.” He does not expect us to be perfect from now on. We are and continue to be sinful, making mistakes and needing guidance. It is not a one and done kind of thing. Acceptance of the gift happens every day, and so the transformation happens every day. Each day we appeal to God for a clear conscience, to seek His wisdom and guidance to make the best choices, to follow His will, to discern what is good and just, and to work to build up His kingdom on earth to the best of our ability. For He created a covenant with us, and it is a living covenant, of life-sustaining, hope-giving, guiding gift. Let us die in our transgressions. Let us be brought to life in the Spirit.
Lord, thank You for Your overwhelming sacrifice and gift. Help us to accept Your love humbly, and to be transformed by this gift. Each day, guide us to make good choices, to accept our failures and rise again with fresh resolve. Work in us, so that we may accomplish the good works You have set out for us in advance, and help us to build up Your kingdom with justice and truth. Amen.
Amelia Seman, ’15
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website