From the Pastor's Desk


Rev. Paul Ring

My Dear Friends in Christ,

HAPPY LENT! To many, these two words seem mutually exclusive; after all, what is there to be "happy" about during Lent? Fair enough. If we look at the full definition of the word, however, beyond a sense of being "joyful" or "merry", we can look at Lent in the sense of being "satisfied", "fortunate" or "prosperous". Lent is a time when we "take stock" of how we are living in relationship to how God wishes us, and calls us, to live. In this sense, when we fulfill who and what God is calling us to be, we can truly be "happy".

When we look at Noah, he should be happy. He has been spared from the flood because of his faithfulness to God, and he is rewarded with a new covenant. It is in this covenant that God re-establishes His bond with us, a bond which was broken by the sin of Adam and Eve and is further damaged by the actions of the people of Noah's time. God comes to regret having made humanity and He seeks, through the flood, to "wash away" the sin of humanity and start again with a new relationship, a new covenant. It is in this that humanity gets a "spiritual 'do-over'" and, once again, has a relationship with God based not on fear, but on love.

It is in this light that St. Peter writes to the early Christian communities of his day. He writes to the people about Christ's obedience to the will of the Father. Peter contrasts this with the disobedience which brings about the flood, a flood by which all but Noah and his kin are destroyed. This action, Peter tells the people, prefigures baptism and estab-lishes Jesus as the One who brings a new covenant to the people. This covenant, formed in the blood of Christ, is one in which the people are saved from their sins. It is by the death and resurrection of Jesus that we are saved, Peter tells the people. It is by our baptism, which is "not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience" (1 Pt 3:21), that we are joined to Jesus.

It is in this same sense of union that we hear of Jesus in the desert in today's gospel passage. After Jesus' baptism, He is led into the desert by the Spirit. Jesus is tested, but does not succumb to this temptation; Jesus remains faithful. Jesus then, after John's arrest, proclaims the appearance of the Kingdom. It is not merely something which we await, Jesus reminds us, but is something in our midst. May we have the courage to recognize the presence of the Kingdom at work in our lives, and may we have the boldness to proclaim the appearance (and future fulfillment) of the Kingdom to all whom we meet.

A Happy Lent to All,

Fr. Paul



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