Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Lent

The Time Has Come

With all that is happening with COVID19 and related matters, is it the best time to commence evangelisation plans?  When is the best time to speak about religious matters?  Christians at the time of the terrorising emperor Nero of Rome, who found pleasure in tying Christians to lamp posts and setting them alight as street lights, could have asked the question whether it was the time for evangelisation.  Many Christians, thrown into the den of hungry wild animals to entertain Nero, cried for their lives and other Christians were lamenting these victims when Mark said that ‘it is time to evangelise’.  He said “look at Jesus; he, hearing that John the Baptist was arrested, came proclaiming the good news of God.  He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is near; convert and believe in the good news””.

Jesus, having incarnated as a human being like you and me, was tested in the loneliness of a wilderness.  For forty days, he was like the Israelites whose loyalty to God was tested in the desert for forty years.  In spite of their unfaithfulness God was faithful to the Israelites and took them to the Promised Land.  Here we have Jesus, who never faltered in the face of all temptations of the devil, loyal to the Father even in the unsupported wilderness.  Trials are there to win over the evil forces, and you will do it because you are with the one who won over all evil. This message of Mark is great news for us, especially in our adversities.

Lent is a time set apart to strengthen yourselves to live a life of unwavering loyalty to God, even in the most adverse situations.  It is a seven week program.  The salvation history, as told in the Old Testament, helps us to enter into a deeper meditation on the unfailing fidelity of God to his people.  This week the story of Noah presents God’s covenantal promise that he will not punish his people with any destruction (Genesis9:8-15).  Next week the focus will be on God’s promise to Abraham, the Father of Faith.  The following weeks you will be invited to focus on the person of Moses, the event of exile, and on the New Covenant God has established with his people. It will be followed by the Holy Week.

The time has come to proclaim the good news of God’s reign.  You are called to work systematically on becoming the good news to others. Resist all temptations, turn away from sin, be faithful to the Words of Christ, and be a beacon of hope wherever it is needed.