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Lent 1

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Sunday 22nd Feb 2015, Lent 1, 9:30am St Andrew’s, 5pm St Thomas’, 6:30pm St Pete’s

New Creation   Mark 1: 9-15, Genesis 9:8-17

The Baptist had promised that Jesus would baptise in the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8), and at his Baptism, the Holy Spirit decended upon him. Then, the same Spirit takes possesion of Jesus and drives him into the desert. In the Bible, the desert is an ambiguous place. It is a place of refuge, but also of difficult trials; a place of encounter with God, but also of diabolic temptations. The desert may have been the place where the Law was given to Israel, but it was also the place where Israel was tempted, where false gods were adored, and where Israel murmured against God’s chosen one. Jesus experiences this ambiguity. He is tempted by Satan, but he is with the wild beasts and the angels look after him.

In these brief words Mark tells his readers that in Jesus the original order of God has been restored. At the beginning of the biblical story the animals belonged to humankind. But sin broke into the story and the earth and the animals rebelled. The earth had to be painstakingly worked and the animals became ferocious. In its fallen state, human kind is divided against itself, expelled from a garden where the land and all its animal inhabitants rebel against a man and a woman who are in conflict (Gen 2:15-25; 3:14-21).

Today’s Goepel story, recording the first actions of Jesus, tells us that the situation created by human disobedience and sin has now been reveresed. The promise of Isaiah has been fulfilled: ‘The wolf will live with the lamb, the lepoad shal lie down with the kid  and the calf and the lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them’ (Isa 11:6-7). This is what is involved with this simple remark ‘ He was with the wild beasts and the angels looked after him.’

The Gospel of Mark has opened with this succinct but profound statement of the new creation which has taken place in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1). The fall of Genesis and it’s consequences can now be reversed. Jesus is a new Adam, bringing back to the human story the possibility of oneness between God and humanity which had been lost. He is able to begin his public ministry with the authority of the one who lives in union with the Father: The Kingdom of God is here! Jesus’ presence brings with it a time and a place where God rules over creation.

But this is not the only thing that Jesus proclaims as he begins his ministry. He also tells us that the oneness with God and creation which he enjoys can be ours. He summons us to repent and believe in the good news he came to bring. Lent is not a season for silly penances. It is a time to listen attentively to the Gospel, to turn back to the ways of God. In this way we too can have restored in our own lives the God-given order damaged through our sinfulness. God reigns, but do we wish to be part of his Kingdom? Lent is a good time to ask ourselves that question.   (Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year B, by Francis J. Moloney, p 142-3).

 

 

 

Genesis 9:8-17    

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,  9 “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,  10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.  11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:  13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,  15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

 

Mark 1:9-15

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.  11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.  13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”