Readings and Reflection for Sunday February 21, First Sunday of Lent


FIRST READING                                                       
God’s covenant with Noah, delivered from the waters of the flood.
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 9:8-15)

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the  birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “this is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 25:4-5ab.6 and 7bc. 8-9 (R. cf. 10)
R/.  All your paths, O Lord, are mercy and faithfulness,
for those who keep your covenant.

O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
For you are the God of my salvation. R.

Remember your compassion, O Lord,
And your merciful love,
For they are from of old.
In your merciful love remember me,
Because of your goodness, O Lord. R.                                

Good and upright is the Lord;
He shows the way to sinners.
He guide the humble in right judgement;
To the humble he teaches his way. R.

SECOND READING                                          
“Baptism now saves you.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Peter (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Beloved: Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

The word of the Lord.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

“He was tempted by satan, and the angels ministered to him.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 1:12-15)

At that time: the spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God, and saying, “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
In today’s Gospel Jesus goes into the desert, Lent, a desert experience, revives our Christian life through traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  During these forty days, returning to basics, we make a fresh start to breathe new life into our Christian identity.  Our Sundays this Lent centers on covenant. In the Old Testament the old covenant was made and renewed.  Now, in Christ, a new covenant is given to us; we were made part of it at baptism. Christ covenant, like that of a faithful spouse, is for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health.  Can we say this of our response?  Sometimes, drifting from the Lord, we look for love in the wrong places and are inevitably disappointed. Prayer, fasting and acts of charity are ways of assessing and reviving our fidelity to Christ.  The Lord is faithful to us.  Are we faithful to Him? 


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