“THE TIME IS FULFILLED, REPENT AND BELIEVE” First Reading: Genesis 9: 8-25 Second Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 12-15 * First reading is from the book of Genesis. This passage describes the floods that took place at the time of Noah. After the floods, Lord God made a covenant with Noah that there will never again be such a universal catastrophe. The Lord God’s pact with Noah and his sons tells us about God’s unfailing fidelity and benevolence towards the humankind. The rainbow was a sign of the covenant between God and man. * Second reading is from the first letter of St. Peter. In this passage, the flood waters at the time of Noah and the waters of baptism are compared. Peter tells the Christian community that the waters of flood during the time of Noah symbolizes the waters of our baptism by which we are saved. Like Noah and family were saved, it is through our baptism that we are saved and we enter into the new covenant and a new relationship with God. Peter exhorts all of us to live according to the Christian faith, no matter what trials we have to endure because of it. “Temptations of Jesus” Today’s Gospel reading is from St. Peter. This passage gives a brief narrative of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus went through a time of serious reflection and challenges during those days in the desert. As we know from experience, athletes prepare diligently for long duration. Similarly professional artists rehearse painstakingly for long hours and good teachers do their preparations meticulously. Before starting His public ministry, Jesus went into the desert to prepare Himself for the divine task entrusted to Him by the heavenly Father and to purify His mind and cleanse His heart. Mark narrates Jesus’ going into the desert to combat the devil and concludes with His victorious emergence. Jesus emerged from His forty days of fasting and prayer and prepared for the ultimate test of strength and skill against the powers of evil. Lent is a time when all followers of the Lord try to renew their lives. In a sense, we go into the desert with Jesus. We are urged to keep the last verse of today’s Gospel throughout Lent,”Repent, and believe in the Gospel”. “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us to shake us from our lethargy” – Pope Francis “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst …Repent and believe – Jesus tells us” – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.“Lent is a time to renew wherever we are in that process, that I call divine therapy” – Thomas Keating.