This is Lent 2024 — the time of our fulfillment. Noah spent 40 days in the ark and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. These 40 days of Lent are given to us as a gift — a time to confront our demons and to refashion our lives for God.

  • To the point: There is an urgency to Mark’s depiction of Jesus’ experience in the desert — the Spirit drives Jesus into the desert. There, Jesus grappled with being “tempted by Satan.” He fully embraced the human reality of struggling to be faithful. Jesus left the desert ready to begin his ministry of proclaiming “the gospel of God.” Jesus had faced his own “this is the time” and said yes. Lent is our desert time to come to saying a fuller yes to God.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 12:1-15) to the first reading: In the first reading covenant with Noah, God says “yes” to us and all of creation. That promise, sealed by God’s signature rainbow reveals God’s desire to engage with us in an intimate and vibrant relationship.
  • Connecting the Gospel to our experience: Lent is a time to renew our “yes” to God and deepen our fidelity to our baptismal covenant. We have this space of a few weeks to confront what drains us from a strong centered relationship with God. Lenten discipline and good works will help us find our center again and put energy back into our relationship with God. Our tendency is to put off dealing with difficult, uncomfortable, challenging tasks. We often need a push to get going. Lent is the push: “This is the time.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Mark 1: 12-15)

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert.”

Drawn to the desert by the Holy Spirit and tempted!
Your only food, the will of the Father, you went.
Let your surrender summon us also:
to your revolution of tenderness.
Help us listen to the Holy Spirit. Let it be our
life-giving food for the fast.

The First Reading

(Genesis 9: 8-15)

“I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign.”

A promise of love, the sign, the rainbow.
Stretching to the heavens, filling the earth.
Its hues garnishing all living things.
Thank you, dear Lord: for Earth, for skies, for rainbows
and for every living creature under the sun.
Help us care, and teach everyone
to care for the common home that
you have given to each and every one of us.
And thanks for your promise that you will hold us
in your loving arms forever.

The Second Reading

(I Peter 3: 18-22)

“Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.”

Holy Spirit, help us to empty ourselves.
Our Lenten task is to make room for you.

Copyright © 2024, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection