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					First Sunday in Lent

Year “B”

Genesis 9:8-15
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

       The story of Noah is one that is very familiar but for most people, the story ends with when
the waters recede and the animals are released from the ark. This passage gives us the next part of
the story and it is interesting to note that Noah and his sons enter into a covenant with God even
though they do not know him.


       In Chapter Six of the Book of Genesis we read that, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless
in his generation; Noah walked with God.” (6:9) We can not be certain of the true meaning of those
words. God first revealed himself to Abram. Still, Noah listened when God spoke to him.


       Following the instructions given by God, Noah built the ark, gathered the animals and his
family and was saved from the flood. At the end of all of this, God made a covenant with Noah and
his sons –with all humanity- placing a rainbow in the sky as a sign of that covenant. This covenant
shows the relationship that God wants to have with creation.


       “Following the destruction wrought by the flood, God‟s covenant with Noah (cf. Gen 9:1-
17), and in him with all of humanity, shows that God wants to maintain for the human community
the blessing of fertility, the task of subduing creation and the absolute dignity and inviolability of
human life that had characterized the first creation. This is God‟s desire despite the fact that, with
sin, the decadence of violence and injustice, which was punished by the flood, had entered creation.
The Book of Genesis presents with admiration the diversity of peoples, the result of God‟s creative
activity (cf. Gen 10:1-32). At the same time, it denounces man‟s refusal to accept his condition as
creature with the episode of the Tower of Babel (cf. Gen 11,1-9). In the divine plan, all peoples had
"one language and the same words" (cf. Gen 11:1), but humanity became divided, turning its back
on the Creator (cf. Gen 11:4).” (429)


       St. Peter likens the great flood with our baptism. He wrote to the Christian Community in
Rome of the relationship that they had with Noah in that they shared in the new covenant that God
has now made with those who believe in Christ. Noah was saved by the ark and a covenant was



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established. We were saved by the death of Christ and a new covenant is made through our
baptism.


         St. Mark made an additional connection with the Old Testament when he wrote the story of
Jesus‟ temptation. His version is very short but he provides us with enough necessary information
as to get his point across.


         After his baptism, Jesus spent forty days in the desert. (St. Mark does not mention that Jesus
spent that time in prayer and fasting.) The forty days is significant. That is the length of time that it
rained upon Noah and the ark as well as the length of time, after “the ark came to rest upon the
mountains” (8:6) before Noah opened the window and released the raven in order to see if the
waters had abated. The number is also significant because forty is the number of years that the
Israelite people wondered in the desert before entering the Promised Land.


         “…“Faith in Christ the Redeemer, while it illuminates from within the nature of
development, also guides us in the task of collaboration. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians,
we read that Christ is „the first-born of all creation,‟ and that „all things were created through him‟
and for him (Col 1:15-16). In fact, „all things hold together in him,‟ since „in him all the fullness of
God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things‟ (v. 20). A part of this
divine plan, which begins from eternity in Christ, the perfect „image‟ of the Father, and which
culminates in him, „the firstborn from the dead‟ (v. 15-18), in our own history, marked by our
personal and collective effort to raise up the human condition and to overcome the obstacles which
are continually arising along our way. It thus prepares us to share in the fullness which „dwells in
the Lord‟ and which he communicates „to his body, which is the Church‟ (v. 18; cf. Eph 1:22-23).
At the same time sin, which is always attempting to trap us and which jeopardizes our human
achievements, is conquered and redeemed by the „reconciliation‟ accomplished by Christ (cf. Col
1:20)”1. (327)


         As we begin the season of Lent we are reminded of the covenant that God has made with us.
This covenant is not with someone that we do not know. Jesus has revealed God the Father to us.
We know him through what we have seen and heard during Jesus public ministry.




1
    John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 31: AAS 80 (1988), 554-555.

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       It is not about baptism but it is. Through our baptism we share in the death and resurrection
of Jesus. In the Gospel we heard how Jesus, who shares our humanity, resisted the temptation of
Satan. We know that if we allow him to enter our lives we will have the grace to follow him in
prayer, fasting and resisting the temptations that would take us from his love.




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