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Scripture Reflection: Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love

 |  11 February 2018

Lectionary reading

First reading: Genesis 9:8-15.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24(25):4-9.

Second reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22.

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15.

Link to readings.

Introduction

As we begin Lent, we are invited to follow Jesus into the silence of the wilderness and join with him in prayer and fasting.

Throughout Lent, the Old Testament readings guide us through the history of our salvation. This Sunday we begin with God’s Covenant with Noah and his descendants (First Reading). The rainbow in the sky is a reminder of that loving Covenant, which foreshadows the promises God will later make to Abraham.

The first letter of St Peter (Second Reading) teaches that just as the waters of the flood in Noah’s day led to a new life and Covenant with God, the waters of our baptism lead to new life in Christ.

In the Gospel, after Jesus has been baptised and received the Holy Spirit, he is drawn by the Spirit into the desert. After forty days of fasting and testing in the wilderness, he immediately returns to Galilee and begins to spread the Good News, calling people to repent and turn back to God.

The story of both God’s Covenant with Noah and today’s Psalm would have been well known to Jesus. Perhaps we can imagine him praying the psalm and taking comfort from its words:

“Lord make me know your ways.
Lord teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth.”

Let this be our prayer, too, as we begin our Lenten journey.

May Jesus be our guide as we learn to follow his path to salvation. We begin as Jesus did by entering into silence...

First Reading

Genesis 9: 8–15

Aware of how I am feeling, I come to prayer just as I am, and place myself before God. I let my mind find stillness, and imagine God looking upon me with love and kindness.

I read the story of Noah with fresh eyes and a curious mind, asking God to help me in my prayer.

God makes a Covenant with his people. What is God promising me?

How do I respond?

God is making the same Covenant with all living things.

What is my relationship to creation and all of God’s creatures?

God uses the beauty of the rainbow as a reminder of his love for creation. What images, places or aspects of nature remind me of God’s love?

I may like to use my imagination to explore with all of my senses the scenes that come to mind, and see God’s love filling each one.

How do I feel now?

I find my own words of thanks to God and close my prayer by saying

Glory be to the Father...

Gospel

Mark 1: 12–15

I go to my place of prayer, finding a time and place where I can be alone before God. I bring myself to silence and inner stillness as best I can. I may notice distractions and how my mind often wanders.

Rather than struggle with my thoughts, I notice them with kindness, and bring my attention to my breath or to some visual focus of prayer.

I read the text slowly, perhaps initially focusing on the first paragraph.

Jesus was drawn by the Spirit into the desert after he was baptised. Where is the Spirit drawing me this Lent?

What do I need to let go of in order to draw closer to God?

I use my imagination to enter the wilderness with Jesus, seeing him alone and tested.

I ask Jesus how he felt facing these challenges. How does this make me feel?

I might choose to reflect on the times when my faith has felt tested.

Maybe I have been too self-reliant and not always placed my trust in God ...? I share this with the Lord.

Jesus was looked after by angels.Who are the people who have been like angels for me? I thank God for their help.

I may now want to read the second paragraph. I imagine seeing and hearing Jesus calling me personally to repent.“[My name], the time has come …”

How do I respond to his invitation?

When I feel ready, I slowly close my prayer by telling the Lord of my own commitment to repentance. I listen to him.

I ask Jesus to be with me and guide me through these coming weeks of Lent.

I finish by making a prayerful sign of the cross.

 

Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham

 

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