1.Gen 9:8-15
2. 2Pet3:18-22
Mk 1:12-15

THEME OF THE READINGS “The desert experience”
As we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent let us have a look on the relationship that exists between great World religions and the desert that is Judaism, Christianity and Islam all these were all born in the desert. For instance it was through the desert that Moses led the Israelites from Slavery in Egypt to the promised Land( Ex 14), it was from the desert that John the Baptist came to herald the coming of Messiah (Mt3:4, Isaiah 40:3-5). No life thrives in the desert except inner life; it is not surprising that it was the desert fathers who created that great institution dedicated to fostering inner life, western monasticism. It has so profoundly marked Christianity as children of the desert. The desert is a call to each one of us to create a room for God; it is an invitation to us all to make radical decision about how to nurture our spiritual lives. The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert and he remained there for forty days, like Jesus we should allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the desert.
Today’s scriptures show two contrasting reactions to temptation. Our first parents that are Adam and eve are imagined as preferring their own inclinations to the will of God. Jesus our master and saviour, on the contrary resisted the temptation remaining faithful to what God the Father required of him.
In our everyday life we do meet temptations and this is unavoidable reality. If we truly examine our daily life we will surely find some aspects of temptations, ie the tendencies or impulses that are opposed to the right way of doing things, temptations at times are rationalize in order to justify one’s needs and then they become socially acceptable and politically correct while in a real sense they are not.  Our real vocation to Christian maturity comes by acknowledging the vocation of struggling against temptations.
In our second reading Peter encourages Christians to endure the unmerited suffering of persecution. Unmerited suffering was good not only for their personal salvation but for the salvation of others as it evidently manifested in the life of Christ. “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous and the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.” (1Pet 3:18). All those benefited from the suffering of Christ include sinners alive and the dead ones. The mystery of suffering in our life as Christians has to be understood in this perspective, that once we undergo suffering we become consoled by the suffering of Christ. When we undergo suffering we partake in the very suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are in solidarity with Christ’s suffering if also we accept the suffering we experience as part and parcel of our life, more especially Christian life. When we suffer we don’t suffer personally for our sake, rather we also suffer for the sake of others.
As we begin the season of Lent our Mother church invites her sons and daughter to join Christ in the forty days journey of fasting, penance and alms giving. Our suffering has an atoning value not just to sinners in the World but even to those who have gone before us more especially our departed brothers and sisters whose souls are purgatory.
From the gospel we read that after Jesus was baptized “the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty  days being tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” (Mk1:12-13) where else apart from the desert we may encounter the Holy Spirit as well as Satan? In the desert it where Jesus came to distinguish between the voice of God which he should follow and the voice of Satan which is the temptation. How many voices do we hear from the moment we wake up in the morning? Countless voices on the news paper, soliciting voices on the television and radio? Also the voices of those who live with us without forgetting our own unceasing inner voices. In the desert we concentrate only on the voice of God and fighting against the voice of Satan. With the example of the desert, it an invitation to us all to examine our own consciences that where do we fall most as Jesus was tempted in the desert, also in our daily lives we have got many temptations, the challenge is that how do we respond and persevere in the temptation we do encounter in our daily life? Or do we recognize temptations in our daily lives or once they appear we tend to rationalize them in order to justify our own ends?

As we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent, it is an invitation to us all that to set time apart for God, to distance ourselves from worldly noises and set a time to be with God, to set a time to distance ourselves from many noises.

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Chapisha Maoni