One Minute Reflection – 21 February – First Sunday of Lent, Readings Genesis 9:8-15, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7,8-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15 and the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
“This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand” – Mark 1:14
REFLECTION – “After John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee…” According to our interpretation, John stands for the Law and Jesus the Gospel. Indeed, John says: “One mightier than I is coming after me…” (Mk 1,7) and elsewhere: “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn 3,30): in this way he compares the Law with the Gospel. And afterwards he says: “I – that is, the Law – baptise you with water; he – that is the Gospel – will baptise you in the Holy Spirit” (Mk 1,8). And so Jesus comes because John had been put in prison. In effect, the Law is finished, it has been brought to an end, it no longer has its former freedom. But we have passed from the Law to the Gospel…
“Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God”… When I read the Law, prophets and psalms, I never heard them speak of the Kingdom of heaven – only in the gospel. For only when He came, of whom it is said “the Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Lk 17,21) that God’s Kingdom was thrown open… In fact, before the Saviour’s coming and the Light of the Gospel, before Christ opened the gate of paradise with the thief (Lk 23,43), all holy souls descended to the place of the dead. Jacob himself said: “I will go down weeping and mourning to the nether world” (Gn 37,35)… In the Law, Abraham rests with the dead; in the gospel, the thief is in paradise. We are not denigrating Abraham, we all want to rest in his bosom (Lk 16,23 but we prefer Christ to Abraham, the Gospel to the Law.
We read that after Christ’s Resurrection many saints appeared in the holy city (Mt 27,53). Our Lord and Saviour preached on earth and preached, too, to the underworld. He died and descended to hell to free the souls held captive there (1Pt 3,18f.).” – St Jerome (347-420), Priest, Translator of the Bible, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on Saint Mark’s Gospel, no.2A ; SC 494
PRAYER – Through our annual Lenten observance Lord, deepen our understanding of the mystery of Christ and make it a reality in the conduct of our lives,. Teach us by the example and doctrine of St Peter Damian to prefer nothing whatever to Christ and to make the service of Your Church our chief concern and so, come to the joy of Your eternal Kingdom. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.