Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, February 22, 2015 with Reflection

1st Sunday of Lent

1ST READING - Genesis 9:8-15
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 11 I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” 12 God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 13 I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”

P S A L M - Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. 5Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.(R) Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. (R) Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R)

2ND READING - 1 Peter 3:18-22
18 Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. 19 In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, 20 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. 21 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, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Mark 1:12-15
12 The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, 13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. 14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”



On the night of March 3, 2014, NBA player LeBron James of the Miami Heat scored a 61-point career-high against the Charlotte Bobcats. But not everyone was impressed. NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins went on a Twitter rant, downplaying LeBron’s career night. He tweeted, “No denying he put on a shooting display. He was hot... But where is the defense? No close outs on defense, doubles were late, rotations were slow. It was too easy to score. At 54 years old, I could drop 40 on that defense.”

       While I have my own opinion on Wilkins’ rant and analysis, in a nutshell, Wilkins was saying this: LeBron scored 61 not because he was unstoppable but because the defense was weak.

       On this First Sunday of Lent, we read Mark’s account of the temptation of Jesus on the mountain. This Gospel account teaches us some things on the reality of temptation. One thing with sin is that the temptation is not always strong but that, at times, our defenses are simply weak, sometimes even non-existent. And when our defenses are weak, “the tempter” will always have a career scoring night against us.

       How do we fortify our defenses? First, through the defensive power of prayer. When the devil tempted Jesus, He was in a 40-day retreat in the desert. Prayer surrounds us with God’s shield and protection. Second, through the defensive shield of God’s Word. After each and every temptation, Jesus rebuked the devils’ wiles by countering with a quote from Scriptures.

         How do we resist the devil? How do we make him flee from us? It is by fortifying our inner fortress with the shield of God’s Word. I end with an old sage advice: “Unless we have within us that which is above us (i.e., God and His Word), we will easily yield and fall to everything that is around us.” I say it again, when our defenses are weak, “the tempter” will always have a career scoring night over us. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: How much time do you invest for prayer and Scripture reading?

Surround me always, O Lord, with the shield of Your Word. Amen.

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