Sunday, 1 March 2009

The desert experience (Mk 1:12-15)

Today we read the account in Mark, that Jesus is driven into the wilderness for forty days. Mark does not give as much details as Matthew (4:1-11) and Luke (4:1-13) do in their accounts, which are good additional texts for reflection for the start of lent as well. I think it is good to specifically reflect on these passages of the Gospel during the time of Lent, regards Jesus being sent into the wilderness. Jesus goes into the wilderness, and as we can read in more detail in the other accounts that He is tempted in different ways.

After receiving the Holy Spirit in baptism Jesus' his ministry is beginning, and the Spirit he just received during His baptism leads Him into the wilderness as a necessary preparation for His mission. I myself am thinking straight away of the Dominican Vocation, seeing the parallel in Saint Dominic's life. Our life is in a way modelled on this Gospel, as we spend time in prayer/contemplation and also study in which we in a way separate ourselves from the world (while being in the world) to try and strip our lives down in order to be able to focus on the essential, on God. Then as Jesus does after the forty days (Mk 1:14-15) we go out and preach. Contemplata aliis Tradere, in a way a perpetual Lent :-).

But so it is similar in each one of our lives, and especially during this period of Lent. It is an opportunity to deepen our relation with God and to try and strip ourselves from our worldly distractions in order to be focus on what is important. During this forty day period we live towards Holy week and we prepare ourselves for this. On Good Friday Jesus was completely stripped naked to be crucified....

So I belief that Lent is a challenge, but also an invitation, to give ourselves completely up to the Will of the Father. To try and completely empty ourselves out during this period, and to give ourselves unconditionally to God... it is a time in the desert, among the wild beasts of temptation and discouragement but with the angels to support us, preparing ourselves to be able to fully participate in the light of Easter, in the resurrection, now and forever!

"[Jesus] being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Phi 2:8 RSV).

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