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Homily - Feb 18, 2024

1 st. Sunday of Lent (Year B). (Feb 18, 2024). Gen. 9:8-15; I Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15.

“Repent and believe in the Good News of God’s Kingdom.”

Introduction: Factory re-setting and software update of Christian life during Lent: Referred to as a factory reset or factory restore, a computer's factory settings are the settings the computer had when it was first purchased. ... A factory reset is often performed before a computer is resold to help resolve any software issues or eliminate the previous user's profile and personal data.

Significance: Lent is the time to do the “factory resetting” of our spiritual life and update it by leading a life of repentance and renewal of life. Today’s 1 st . Reading makes a “factory reset” by reminding us of the New Covenant God made to Noah after the deluge, and the 2 nd . Reading “updates” the meaning and significance of our Baptism in the context of Lenten season which invites us to renew our Baptismal promises. Hence, the primary purpose of Lent is spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery recalling Jesus’ death on Good Friday and Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Hence, the Church leads her children to “repentance,” a type of conversion.

Life Message: We can then say that “Repentance” is the process by which one reorders one’s priorities, and changes one’s values, ideals, and ambitions, through fasting, prayer, and penitential mortification. Lent, then, is a period of self-examination, prompting us to repent of our sins, and so to effect a real conversion: to turn completely to God and to His teaching, and to do good for others. Lent also challenges us to reform our lives by turning away from self, from evil, and from sin, so as to turn toward God and toward others with renewed Faith and fervor. Lenten observances are also intended to lead us to our annual solemn renewal of Baptismal vows on Holy Saturday. Consequently, through Baptism, we are called to live justly, to love God with all our being, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to build the kingdom of God by our acts of charity. That is why the three readings chosen as today’s Scripture refer to Baptism directly or indirectly, and Jesus put the icing on the cake, with his clarion: “This is the time of Fulfillment. Repent and believe in the Good News of God’s Kingdom.”

Conclusion: Let us convert Lent into a time for spiritual growth and Christian maturity by: a) participating in the Mass each day, or at least a few days in the week; and setting aside some part of our day for personal prayer; b) setting aside some money we might spend on ourselves for meals, entertainment, or clothes and giving it to an organization which takes care of the less fortunate in our society; c) abstaining from smoking, alcohol, and other evil addictions; d) receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Lent and participating in the “Stations of the Cross” on Fridays. In a nutshell, let us use Lent to fight daily against the evil within us and around us by practicing self-control, relying on the power of prayer, and seeking the assistance and the daily anointing of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, “This is the time of Fulfillment. Repent and believe in the Good News of God’s Kingdom.”


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