First Sunday of Lent

Por: padre José Miguel González

Palabra de Hoy
Palabra de Hoy

February 21, 2021

God said to Noah and his children:
“I establish my alliance with you and your descendants.”

Jesus said, “Become and believe in the gospel.”




First Reading

Reading the book of Genesis 9, 8-15

God said to Noah and his children:
“I establish my covenant with you and your descendants, with all the animals that accompany you, birds, cattle and beasts, with all those who came out of the ark and now live on earth. I therefore establish my covenant with you: the flood will not destroy any creature again, nor will there be another flood that devastates the earth.”
And God added:
“This is the sign of the covenant I establish with you and with all that lives with you, for all generations: I will put my bow in heaven, as a sign of my covenant with the earth. When I bring clouds upon the earth, the arc will appear in the clouds and I will remember my covenant with you and with all the animals, and the flood will never destroy the living again.”



Exit 24, 4bc-5ab. 6-7bc. 8-9

R/. Your ways, Lord, are mercy and loyalty to those who keep your covenant.

Lord, show me your ways, instruct me in your ways:
make him walk with loyalty; teach me, because you are my God and Savior. R/.

Remember, Lord, that your tenderness and mercy are eternal.
Remember me with mercy, for your goodness, Lord. R/.

The Lord is good and righteous, and teaches the way to sinners;
he makes the humble walk righteously, he teaches his way to the humble. R/.


Second Reading

Reading St Peter’s first letter 3,18-22

Dear Brothers:
Christ suffered his passion, once and for all, for sins, the righteous for the unjust, to lead us to God.
Dead in the flesh but envified in the Spirit; in the spirit he went to preach even to the spirits in prison, to the disobedient at another time, when God’s patience awaited, in the days of Noah, that the ark might be built, so that a few, that is, eight people, would be saved by water.
This was also a symbol of the baptism that is currently saving us, which is not a purification of a physical stain, but a request to God of a good conscience, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who went to heaven, is seated to the right of God and has at his disposal angels, powers, and powers.


Reading the Holy Gospel according to Mark 1, 12-15

At that time, the Spirit pushed Jesus into the wilderness. He stayed in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan; lived with the beasts and the angels served him. After John was delivered, Jesus went to Galilee to proclaim the gospel of God; Said:
“Time has been fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Become and believe in the gospel.”



Lent began last Wednesday, with the imposition of ashes on our heads, listening to the words God said to Adam after the first sin by expelling him from paradise: “remember that you are dust and dust you will become.” We may hear instead “become and believe in the Gospel,” Jesus’ invitation at the beginning of his ministry in Galilee. Ash, as a sign of humility, reminds the Christian of its origin and purpose: “God formed man with dust of the earth” (Gen 2:7); “until ye return to the earth, for ye were made of it” (Gen 3:19). Dust, ashes, well little thing, is what we are when we lack God, when we let the spirit die, when we do not convert to Him and accept in faith the Gospel of Jesus, the good news: God wants to remake his covenant with us, offering us his mercy and his forgiveness. Without God we are nothing; with Him and in Him we are the most impressive wonder of all creation.

Thus we begin Lent as a path to the Lord’s Passover, which we will celebrate in Holy Week, as a memorial to his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Thus, far from being a grim, dark and tristonous time, Lent is a time of grace and mercy, of inner renewal and hope. In her liturgy, the Church offers us a great baptismal catechesis, which will have its culmination on Easter Night, with the renewal of the promises of our baptism. It is therefore a period in which we are invited to contemplate Christ more closely to identify more and better with Him. Christians should reproduce their image, their lives, their words and gestures in everything we think, say and do. One of the axes of our spiritual life for this time must be to look and contemplate Christ to be more like Him, to identify with the One who, by baptism, has delivered us from sin and eternal death, and has made us children of God forever.

On this journey of conversion and inner renewal, the journey of Easter, we are offered three Lent practices: prayer, alms and fasting. In themselves they are worthless if they do not help us to find personal encounter with Christ. The image of the way can also help us to better understand what each of them are and how to live them.

Prayer is the way to God, to Christ, a way back and forth, in which return is more important than the way. Certainly the first thing in prayer is to tell God what we need, but more importantly to listen to God, to know what He wants from us. God already knows what we want to tell him; instead we don’t know what God means to us. To spend time listening to God, to listen to what Jesus whispers deep in our hearts, with pause, without haste, is wonderful, for prayer is the way in which God comes to meet us.

Alms are the way to others, in which we also meet Christ; where return is also more important than the one-way. Sometimes we turn alms into a way to reassure our conscience, giving a few little things, or something that we have left over, that we don’t need or even that gets in our way. However, we should give the other what the other truly needs; maybe besides some money, it needs about all the time, honey, sorry… something that we will discover in dialogue with him, in listening to his concerns, in the encounter with Christ in his heart in need or wounded. Let us not be afraid or repulsed to approach the poor in our environment to discover Christ in them. Alms is the way in which Christ comes to meet us in the poor and helpless brother.

And the third way is fasting, which is much more than doscinding some days of certain meals. It is the path to the interiority of each of ourselves, rediscovering our spiritual greatness, in which Christ is also, because we were all created in his image, because by baptism we were signrated by Him forever. The real fast is to dispense with all that does not allow me to see Christ in my heart, to strip myself of everything that hides his face, to clear what prevents him from passing, to rid me of the idols or kings who want to occupy his space. Fasting exercises us in the dominion of ourselves, in the control of our will, in the proper use of time, in responsibility in our work. Authentic fasting is liberation from so many slavery that we create ourselves when we become dependent on superfluous things that make them necessary or indispensable. And all this to be more christlike, more like Him. Fasting is the way in which Christ comes to meet us from our own interiority, sometimes so wounded and damaged by sin.

And continuing with the image of the way, we can understand that Lent is a path to Easter, in successive stages, a process like that of life itself. Today’s gospel takes this path through the desert. The Evangelist Mark introduces us to Jesus pushed by the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted there by Satan. The desert is the geographical place where there is nothing, where no one lives; it is also the mood of trial and temptation; symbolizes the spiritual state we go through or need to pass so many times to meet the Lord, amid difficulties and temptations. Holy Scripture says that God took His people into the wilderness to speak to the heart.

Jesus, Son of God made man, true God, and true man, who never committed sin, wanted to go through the test of temptation, to which Satan himself is subjected. And with it it shows us that he became like us in everything, but without sin. Jesus, in his humanity, becomes poor with the poor and weak with the weak. In Him is our tempted humanity is enging. We feel ensped by Him in our temptations and can learn from Him to overcome them. He accompanies us and encourages us to always fight so as not to let ourselves be overcome by sin. Indeed, we are all tempted, by the Evil One, by the world around us, by our carnal condition, many times and in many ways. But in Christ and with Christ we confront evil and we can overcome.

Leaving the wilderness, Jesus begins to preach the gospel and asks those who hear it for conversion and faith. We note that both attitudes are united; are two aspects of the same decision. From personal encounter with Christ is born faith in Him, trust in his word and the desire for conversion and renewal of one’s life. It is not right to understand conversion as something separate and pre-evangelization, nor as something reduced to a series of changes in our ethical behaviors, nor as a one-off fact in our history. In life every day we need conversion and renewal in the light of our experience of God, to which our faith in Christ leads us. To become converted is to turn to Christ, to direct our minds and hearts to Him, to let ourselves be transformed by Him, and that is the task of every moment and our whole life.

In this sense, the Sacrament of Baptism is the beginning of the journey of conversion and evangelization in each of us, the passage from death to life, from sin to grace, from darkness to light, door of faith. It is God’s covenant of covenant with each of us through the death and resurrection of Christ. The waters that plunged humanity into death in the flood become baptism as a source of life and regeneration through Christ. The rainbow, a sign of God’s offer of alliance with all mankind, is an anticipated and cosmic image of the Cross of Christ, under whose arms extended and nailed, prolonged in the universe and in the history of mankind, all who welcome Him and shelter under his merciful love find comfort and salvation.

We know well that the Lent we have started will be special and different from that of past years. The pandemic does not allow us to live and celebrate our Christian faith in community as we would like. But it is therefore no longer the Lord’s day, a time of grace and salvation. Let us discover how the Lord, who never abandons his people, speaks to us through people, circumstances, and events; how it invites us to renew our consciences in the light of Christ; how he pushes us into the desert to speak to our hearts; how he calls us to conversion and the renewal of our consciences; how it drives us to the commitment to continue to give our lives for others as Christ has given it for each of us. Let us live this Lent with joy and hope.


This is the Lord’s Day. This is the time of mercy.
In front of your eyes we will no longer redred
because of the ancient sin of your people.
You’ll rip the superb heart out of rennet
and you will make a humble people with a sincere heart.
This is the Lord’s Day. This is the time of mercy.
In the midst of the people you keep us as a remnant
to sing your works and advance your kingdom.
We will be a new race for the new heavens;
priestly stretch, according to your Firstborn.
This is the Lord’s Day. This is the time of mercy.
The oppressors will fall and the servants will exult;
the children of the oprobrium will be your heirs.
Then you’ll point out the day of your return
for those who ate their bread at the banishment.
This is the Lord’s Day. This is the time of mercy.
Exulse my guts! Get away from my village!
For the Lord who is just revokes his decrees:
Salvation is heralded where hell stalked,
because the Lord dwells in the midst of his people.

This is the Lord’s Day. This is the time of mercy.
(Liturgical Hymn of Lent)


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.