1 Peter 3:18-22
In the mind and faith vision of the biblical writers, the beginnings of human history was a time of growing and deepening process of human wickedness. In the story of Genesis proclaimed today, God decides it would be better to start over again. The waters of the flood return the earth to the chaotic conditions from which it first emerged, but what comes out of the flood is something new and greater, the first explicit covenant of God with his material and human creation, a covenant extended to all, by which God binds himself to keep the process going, not todestroy God’s creation again.
The early Christians, to whom the first letter of Peter is addressed, are experiencing a time of crisis and trial. They are dispersed through the pagan world, living in small communities, threatened by persecutions. Peter reminds those who are suffering, that as Jesus suffered and was put to death on the cross, he also rose from the dead. Today, as in Peter’s time, we too are reminded that as we share in the cross of Christ, we will also share in His resurrection.
Today’s gospel reminds us that Jesus went out into the desert to take time in solitude and prayer in order to confront difficult choices of his life and the reality of evil, yet he remained in the sustaining presence of God.
If even Jesus requires this time in solitude, how much more do we! Very few of us can find the time and opportunity to endure even one desert day, Yet, somehow we need to find time to be alone with God, to be totally present to God in prayer, to reflect, to reassess where we are before our God and just spend time with our loving God.
On this first Sunday of Lent, let us together pray with the words of today’s responsorial psalm, "Your ways, O Lord, make know to me;teach me your path, guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my savior."
Sr. Marcella Fabing, CSJ, is on the staff of Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.