Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

 

Please read the Sacred Scripture given for this Sunday’s Liturgy:

 


First Sunday in Lent, Cycle B, February 18, 2018

Genesis 9.8-15; First Peter 3.18-22;  Mark 1.12-15

 

Summary of Meditation:

  • The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him (Gospel Reading).  These moments of temptation are the stuff of our spiritual life lived out in the reality of the human condition.  In the desert amid temptations we are one with Jesus.  We imitate his life as he lived out the struggle with temptation.

 

  • The Second Reading relates the reality of temptation with that of our personal sins and our need therefore for redemption.  Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sins of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.  In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water (Second Reading).

 

  • Consciousness of temptation, sin, and salvation is the fundamental step in our ascent into God: That he might lead you to God.  We are led into God only because Christ suffered for the sake of the unrighteous.

 

  • Until we have accepted that we have drowned many times in the flood, we will never know the joy of being saved in the Ark of Christ, the fulfillment of Noah.  The present Ark is the Church and the Sacraments.

 

  • It is in the Eucharist that we have the new covenant in the Blood of Christ.  This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come of the covenant between me and every living creature with you.  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as sign of the covenant between me and the earth (First Reading).

 

 

 

Full Meditation:

 

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him (Gospel Reading). 

 

Jesus, our Lord, is truly human.  Therefore, he possesses a free will; therefore, he can be tempted.  He can be given choices and in his human freedom chose among them.  What is  temptation?  It is the moment of making a decision, choosing among possibilities that seem within our ability of choice, that seem good for us, and yet are outside the will of God and God’s Logos of creation.

 

These moments of temptation are the stuff of our spiritual life lived out in the reality of constant flux of changing situations and relationships.  We are not immune from temptation.  In the desert amid temptations we are one with Jesus.  We imitate his life as he lived out our struggle with temptation.

 

Lent is the liturgical time of entering into the mystery of our human condition that cries out for salvation. Our human condition, though filled with the blessings of creation and redemption, is also filled with inner and outer influences that move against the will of God. 

 

Temptations carry a semblance of good yet in their objective reality are directed away from God’s image that is our true nature.  We live every day amid moral choices concerning objective good and evil.  This arena is beyond the quality of our intentions.  Our actions carry an objective moral valence; it is difficult to judge intentions, but the moral objectivity of our actions is part of Revelation.

 

Lent then brings us an invitation to face reality.  If there is temptation and if we are of a fallen, weakened humanity, then it follows that we must also deal with sin.  In our condition it is safe to say that we have failed to do the will of God and therefore we have sinned.

 

The Second Reading relates the reality of temptation with that of our personal sins and our need therefore for redemption. 

 

Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sins of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.  In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water (Second Reading).

 

There is the tendency now among people who follow ways of spirituality to deny the reality of sin.  We cannot enter into relationship with Jesus unless we do so as sinners who seek their Savior.  Lent is the time to see profoundly our need for the salvation and redemption that come in the trials, sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God.

 

Often, we think that the matter of sin and righteousness belongs to the vocabulary of “fundamentalists.”  But it is fundamental, basic, and essential to our life in Christ that we understand that we are sinners, redeemed in Christ.  Like they say in the “Twelve Step Program”, we are recovering sinners.  Until we are risen from the dead on the last day, we will not have fully recovered.

 

Consciousness of temptation, sin and salvation is the step that is essential to our ascent into God: That he might lead you to God.  We are led into God only if we understand and embrace that Christ suffered for the sake of the unrighteous.

 

We ascend with the Christ of the temptations in the desert, from the Christ who makes up for our sins into the glory of union with God in Christ.  This prefigured Baptism which saves you now.  It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities and powers subject to him (Second Reading).

 

I am capable of sin.  I have sinned.  Sin brings punishment and separation from God.  Sin brings real guilt.  Temptation is the moment of choice that can lead us into that state of separation.  Sin is death.  We all have sinned.  We all have entered into the realm of spiritual death.  We must pass through death at some point in our existence.  We cannot live in denial of our condition and expect at the same time to be in a relationship with God in Christ Jesus.

 

Until we have accepted that we have drowned many times in the flood, we will never know the joy of being saved in the Ark of Christ, the fulfillment of Noah.  The Ark is the Church with sharing in the divine life through the Sacraments.  Catholic dogma reveals that redemption is not only justification but a rebirth in the very substance of our souls.  From sin we pass into a new condition.  We are reborn in the very depths of our spirit.  There is a fundamental, radical re-birth that makes us share in the divine nature even now in the time of our pilgrimage.

 

It is in the Eucharist that we have the new covenant in the Blood of Christ.  This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come of the covenant between me and every living creature with you.  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as sign of the covenant between me and the earth (First Reading).

 


--William Fredrickson, Obl. OSB, D.Min.


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson
Fredrickson46@msn.com