Meditation for First Sunday of Lent, Year B
(Gen 9:8-15; 1 Pet 3:18-22; Mk 1: 12-15)
The second reading shifts our attention to Jesus on the Cross. “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” St Peter explains how the saving power of Jesus brought liberation and achieved what could not be achieved with Noah’s ark. This ark saved very few persons. Today, Noah’s ark can be likened to our baptism. The waters of baptism save us as APPEAL TO GOD for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Cross of Jesus towers up to the sky like the bow of God’s covenant with Noah. But while the bow was symbolic, the Cross of Jesus is itself the new covenant. In the Cross of Jesus are both the TERMS of the covenant and the REMINDER. It is also the perfect symbol since it communicates and affects from within itself what it stands for. So, while the bow of Noah spoke in silence, the silence of the Cross of Jesus speaks!
Unlike the bow of God’s covenant with Noah that was taken up to the sky, the waters of baptism are poured upon us! Baptism applies to us the saving grace of the eternal Covenant of Jesus on the Cross. So we carry within us the ‘indelible mark’ of baptism, which APPEALS to God for our salvation. When God Himself is the Covenant—the Pledge of our salvation—baptism appeals FOR OUR CLEAR CONSCIENCE that we remain faithful to the new covenant we have in Jesus, who died and rose for us.
Therefore, the greatest temptation we shall face is to turn away from the Cross of Jesus; the temptation to lose the ‘memory’ of the Cross and strip ourselves of its power. However, it is by the power of the Cross that we overcome every temptation. Our forty days of Lent imitate the forty days of Jesus in the desert. During this season, we deepen the imprint of the Cross in our hearts so that the victory of Jesus over Satan might be ours. In the end, we shall step forward as Jesus did in the Gospel of today, despite the sorrows of the arrest of John the Baptist, to proclaim the glory of God, the Good News of salvation. “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwewa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday, February 21st, 2021.