Lent as a time of preparation or renewal in our vocation
by Sr Mary Valery Walker o.p.
Reflection for the First Sunday in Lent Year B St. Mark 1: 12 – 15. Jesus in the Wilderness preparatory to beginning his Ministry
Fr. Doyle, parish priest of St. Dominic’s in Stone, preaching on St. Mark’s Gospel, admires St. Mark for his ‘short and snappy’ incidents, which, says Fr. Doyle, always have a point to make. I think that today's 'short and snappy’ Gospel reading has an important point to make for ourselves, we who follow St. Dominic in following Our Lord as preachers, as spreading the ‘Good News’ of the Kingdom of God.
It is a Gospel clearly intended for us, by the Church, as an introduction to the forty days of Lent. But as we see, it is for Our Lord his preparation for his preaching ministry.
So we too can see Lent as a time of preparation or renewal in our vocation. In a profound sense, we are always with Our Lord at the beginning, always learners. In view of Covid, we could well be preparing for a new beginning, for an unfamiliar ethos.
So with Our Lord we enter into Lent’s ‘wilderness,’ its space. Like Our Lord, to be with the Father to deepen and strengthen ourselves in knowledge of His will; to be further empowered by the Holy Spirit.
And to be prepared for temptation. God permits temptation; as with Our Lord, so with us, to strengthen our will and determination. We have one huge ‘advantage’, so to speak, over Our Lord! We have Himself in the Mass where He offers us a share in His glorious victory; actually unites Himself to us bodily, making His blood of courage and self-sacrifice mingle with ours! We don’t enter Lent alone!
Even outside the Mass we have His constant, faithful presence here in the tabernacle. This very same Jesus who, as we hear today, bravely goes out alone into the wilderness, knowing what He will face, wants to accompany each one of us as we – less bravely – begin our forty days of Lent.