Homily First Sunday of Lent Year B Covenant

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Homily First Sunday of Lent Year B

Reading 1: A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man. Unlike a contract, a covenant is unbroken. God, in his loving mercy desires us to have a relationship with him, so he created us in his own image and likeness, sharing his own divine life with us. But man sinned. So God promised a Savior.

Sin became so widespread and grievous that God flooded the earth. Only Noah and his family were faithful and believed in the message of God. They were saved.

Once more God renewed his love for his creation as well as renewed his desire that man should share in his glory. He made a covenant with Noah. The sign of the covenant was the rainbow.  This was the first of several covenants God will make.

Later, God made a covenant with Abraham and renewed it with Isaac, Jacob and his descendants. God made a covenant with Moses and the Israelites, who became his chosen people. For Abraham, the sign of the covenant was circumcision. With Moses the sign was the Ten Commandments.

Though God was faithful to his covenant agreement, human beings have again and again broken the covenant. Through the prophets, God said that he would established a final covenant with humanity. That covenant was sealed by the blood of the Son of God on the cross. During Lent we are called to remember, to reconnect and to renew our covenant with God.

Reading 2: As Noah was saved through the waters by living in the Ark, so we have been saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We experience this salvation through the Ark of the Church in the saving waters of Baptism.

Regular water washes away external grim. The sacred waters of Baptism cleanses us from the grim of sin. We came into the world alienated from God through the sin of Adam and Eve. Baptism brought us back to the relationship of sons and daughters, members of the Body of Christ.

In the waters of Baptism God made his covenant with us, again sharing his divine life with us. We did nothing. God was at work in us. Lent is a journey to the renewal of our baptismal covenant with God through the renewal of our Baptismal promises on Easter Sunday.

Gospel: What should our response to the marvelous work of love God has showed us? Noah offered God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.  Abraham believed in the promise of God and remained faithful even through many trials and difficulties.  He too offered sacrifices of praise and gratitude. Moses told the people that for their part they were to keep the commands of God.

What did we hear Jesus tell us in the Gospel?  Repent and Believe in the Good News of Salvation.  What breaks the covenant on our part is sin.  What begins the journey of renewal of the covenant is repentance and turning away from sin. This is the initial step. We are called to embrace the plan of God revealed to us in his Word of salvation. We are called to put on the mind of Jesus, to be transformed and to be holy. We are called to share with others God’s saving love.
 

Like Jesus experienced, temptation to turn away from the will of God is part of the human journey. The enemy of our covenant is the Devil. As the father of lies, he seeks every opportunity to distract us and lure us away from our commitment to God. At the same time, God gives us the strength to resist. Whose voice will we respond to? Satisfy yourself in the moment or believe in the Gospel? The first leads to rupture in our relationship with God. The second leads us to faithfully embracing our baptismal covenant. 

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