Pondering for Sunday, February 21, 2021

Part 1 of 2

Daily Office Readings for the First Sunday in Lent: Year 1

AM Psalms 63:1 to 8 and 98; PM Psalm 103;
Deuteronomy 8:1 to 101st Corinthians 1:17 to 31Mark 2:18 to 22;

“And you shall remember the entire journey along which the Lord your God led you, for forty years through the desert, to afflict you, and to test you, and to make known the things that were turning in your soul, whether or not you would keep his commandments.  He afflicted you with need, and he gave you Manna as your food, which neither you nor your fathers knew, so as to reveal to you that it is not by bread alone that man lives, but by every word that goes forth from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 and 3)

This Deuteronomy lesson teaches us at least two important things.  First, is that perhaps God really doesn’t know about our hearts and our faith and so we are tested, as was Abraham with his son Isaac. Second, every human walk of life has undergone some kind of crucible by other humans, be it slavery, internment, displacement, or oppression, or a combination of more than one of these.  We, the remnant of our ancestors, are stronger for having survived our ordeals. But the question is, have we held on to our ancestral fortitude?  God needs to know who we are now, and so do we.

Part 2 of 2

Eucharistic Readings for the First Sunday in Lent: Year B

Genesis 9: 8 to 17; Psalm 25: 1 to 9; 1st Peter 3:18 to 22; Mark 1:9 to 15

“And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” (Mark 9:11 and 12)

Jesus is told that he is God’s beloved Son and then driven into 40 days of suffering. And from this experience of being without all the material essentials for mortal life, he comes out of this to report “The Kingdom of heaven has come near, repent.”  It is from this point that our Lord Jesus starts inviting fishermen along the coast of Galilee to “Follow” him. It is the same invitation we have today. Our Lord suffered and survived, even the cross. And then he shared his faith and courage with us through baptism and Holy Eucharist in order that we too might keep the faith and be a part of God’s kingdom. We now have forty days of reflective Lent to discern God’s gift of  spiritual steadfastness.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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