February 26, 2012 – First Sunday of Lent
Gn 9:8-15; Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15
Lent is upon us. This season of intense fasting and prayer offers us an opportunity to focus on our sinful nature and the wonder of Christ’s saving power in a particularly poignant way. As Jesus tells us in the gospel reading today, we are to “repent and believe in the gospel.”
But doing so involves much more than a simple passive belief. In fact, for Christian disciples, this belief in the gospel necessitates a life actively lived for the sake of the gospel, a life lived in immigration of Jesus who gave himself up for death for the sake of others.
This does not mean that we will all be called to die a martyr’s death. But our lives ought to be lived out for others. As stewards, we ought to give ourselves in loving service for others — at home, in our parishes, at work, at school and elsewhere. The life of a Christian disciple, as Christ so radically shows us, is a life of self-giving in love.
It sounds like a lot of work, and rightly so. Just look at the cross. It is far from easy. But, then, focus on the resurrection. Christ suffered the most unthinkable agony, but in his resurrection he experienced the most tremendous victory. That is what we live for. We give of ourselves like Christ did, knowing that we look forward to the glory of eternal life. The reward of a self-giving Christian steward far surpasses the effort it takes to live this way; it far surpasses any hardships we experience along the way.
So, we live for others and we call others to do the same, proclaiming the good news that Christ has come to save. All we need to do is repent and believe. Then, on Easter morning, we celebrate together the joy of the resurrection and we look forward to the day when we run out to meet the Lord together with all the angels and saints.
What a glorious gospel we proclaim!