First Sunday of Lent
I Peter 3:18-22
What might be frightening or scary in our lives right now? What consumes our thoughts during the day and keeps us up at night? If you feel this way, you are in the right place because Lent always begins in the wilderness, and there is a good reason for this. We need to get a place when we say, “Lord led me into the wilderness, it may not be where I want to go, but it is where I will meet you.”
In our Gospel, Jesus may be saying, “Lord, Father, led me into the wilderness, it may not be where I want to go, but it is where I will meet you.” Before we dive into today’s story, let’s go back to January 10, the weekend we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. In the story, Jesus is baptized in the Jordon and told that “You are my beloved son, and in you, I am well pleased.” He is given everything he needs to be strong in faith. One might think that he would be driven back to Galilee to begin his public ministry of renouncing sin, preaching, doing miracles, and doing his Father’s will, but he is not. Jesus is driven to the desert to face the wild beast and to know who he is in his suffering.
The second thing we are told of why Jesus is driven into the wilderness is to be tempted. In the Gospel of Mark, we are not given any dialogue from Jesus. We can learn from this that when we are tempted, we are not to enter into dialogue with the evil one in our temptations. The evil will always spin things around to make the temptation more attractive than what it is. We are to call immediately upon the name of Jesus and claim the victory in Christ.
When his time of being driven into the desert and being tempted was complete now, he is ready to go to Galilee and begin his public ministry. Jesus will proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand and it is time to repent and believe in the gospel.
On Wednesday, my friends in Christ we had ashes put on our heads as our reminder that we are dust, and to dust, we shall return. The ashes on our heads was a reminder that Lent is our time to face the wild beasts in our wilderness and say, “Lord led me into the wilderness, it may not be where I want to go, but it is where I will meet you.” In this Eucharist may we be given the grace to face the wilderness, and to take comfort that God is there to meet us?