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Engaging the Word: February 22nd

Readings this week:
1st Reading: Genesis 9: 8-15
Responsorial: Psalms 25: 4-9
2nd Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Gospel: Mark 1: 12-15

Our first reading this week from Genesis, I think, call us to see that God is on the side of life, is for creation. We are called to look to the natural world and its wonders to see that God has entered into a relationship with all that is. A covenant is more than a contract but rather a relationship. In the act of creation God initiated relationship, a covenant, with creation. In the reading we here that “never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed …” In fact even amidst the destruction described, God did not destroy all bodily creatures. In creation, even creation gone awry, there is always an ark, always something that carries the recognition of God’s love for what has been created. In our stormy times we need to find that ark, that fertile ground within us, and be assured that it will be enough. Remember that God is on the side of life.
The Psalm reminds to look to God for instruction. If God is on the side of life, so should we be. If God is compassionate, so should we be. If the Lord is kind and just, so should we be. In Christ, God come among us as one of us, we are set free to know that we can seek and find the signs given us by God in our human context, and inspired and instructed by those signs we can follow the Lord.
In this human and worldly context, however and as was Jesus, we can and will be tempted to follow paths of our own making. Jesus in the desert was tempted to use the gifts he had received from the Father for purposes not the Father’s. We too can be tempted to put our gifts and talents at the service of our own self-aggrandizement. As we battle with wild beasts who seek to lead us astray, we can be assured, however, that God’s messengers are always seeking in the same moment to encourage and nourish us. We do have the power, as Jesus proclaims, by the grace of God to choose to enter or to reject the Kingdom of God.
As we begin this Lent, let’s look for signs of God’s love for us in creation. Let’s turn to God for guidance. Let’s remain attentive to the true nature of our inspirations, recognizing which come from wild beasts and which come from angels. Let’s believe the Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that any moment, as long as life in time endures, we may choose to step into an eternal life of love here and now.

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