Gospel Reflection – 1st Sunday in Lent – Cycle B

Today we hear a well-known story in the Old Testament: the story of Noah’s Ark. We remember the dove in that story, how this beautiful creature came back with the leaf in his beak, to assure Noah that the devastation was coming to and end.
And in the Gospel, we hear of Christ’s forty days in the desert. It was a time of great trial and hardship for Christ. Yet the Spirit drove him out there, challenging him to face the devil.
In Noah, the Spirit spells the beginning of peace and new life. In the Gospel the Spirit drives Christ into the presence of the devil, that he may combat him.
So, what really is the action of the Spirit? Essentially, the Spirit of truth is our guide to God. Just as he guided Christ through his forty days of desolation, so he guides us through our baptism. We often must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as part of our journey to God. The Spirit is asking us to face those demons, just like he asked Christ.
In his writings, St Ambrose reminded the newly baptised of the water, the wood and the dove in the story of Noah. These elements are also present in our life of faith. We, too, can use them as our guide.
We are lucky to be embedded inside the waters of Baptism. These waters save us through the merits of Christ’s death on the wood of the Cross. The Holy Spirit breathed life into that water so that we might have fullness of life.
We look, then, at the ark, and we think of ourselves being raised above the water, held in God’s hand, and led by the Spirit through a life of hardship. Through the wood of the Cross we are saved and become true children of God. And through the Spirit, who does ask difficult things from us just as he did Jesus, we have the ultimate guide into the Kingdom of heaven.
And, as Jesus says: the time has come. It is now. So let us repent during these day of Lent and welcome the new life of God in our hearts. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 1:12-15
Glory to you, O Lord
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days,
and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God.
‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand.
Repent, and believe the Good News.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.