Today’s Gospel according to Mark is a wonderful inspiration for the beginning of our Lenten Journey. “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert.” (Mk. 1:12) You get this sense of a gale wind, picking Jesus up and carrying Him into the solitude and silence of the desert.
What happens to Jesus when He is alone and becomes quiet? Jesus is “tempted by Satan.” (Mk. 1:13) Jesus was “among wild beasts.” (Mk. 1:13) We know what that feels like, don’t we, when temptations bother us and our conscience is reminding us of the right thing to do. What we can forget in those times is the second part of that sentence – “and the angels ministered to Him.” (Mk.1: 13)
When we get temptations, we have our conscience to remind us of what is right and we also have Angels, lifting us to God Who waits for us with open arms. So, in the desert, that great metaphor of our life with God, we have a choice: God or Satan; good or evil; light or darkness.
And then Mark reminds us that Jesus comes here to King of Prussia to proclaim the “gospel of God:” “This is the time of fulfillment…repent and believe!” (Mk. 1:15) I am looking for fulfillment in my life, aren’t you? What is going to make my life complete? What is the ultimate purpose of my life?
My friends, you are all good people. You want to do the right thing, or you wouldn’t be here. Jesus proclaims to you now, this very minute that if you want to find fulfillment, real and true, “repent on all levels of your life, even in the little things and believe in the Gospel you hear.
It is good to be driven out into solitude and silence by the Spirit once in a while but remember, while you will be tempted there, you will have angels to help you find your way: to fulfillment, to peace and the prosperity of holiness which are the only riches in this life that truly matter.
Together, let this be our parish’s prayer, “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.” (Psalm 25)