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Sunday, February 22, 2015

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First Sunday of Lent

Genesis 9:8-15
1 Peter 3:18-22
Psalm 25:4-9
Mark 1:12-15

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beauty and the beast

"He stayed in the wasteland forty days...He was with the wild beasts." —Mark 1:13

Mark's Gospel was written around 70 A.D., and is believed to have been written in Rome. At that time in Rome, it was not uncommon for Christians to be thrown into an arena with hungry wild beasts, such as lions and tigers, to be martyred by being devoured by them.

Can you imagine how the early Christians of Rome must have been encouraged to hear that Jesus dwelt in safety among the wild beasts? (Mk 1:13) Jesus not only survived being in the presence of the wild beasts, but apparently lived in peace with them. The prophet Isaiah announced that in Jesus the wild beasts will likewise live in peace with all creation (see Is 11:6-8). The Lord in His power can shut the jaws of the wild beasts to protect His holy ones (Dn 6:23). In fact, in Daniel's case, the wild beasts eventually destroyed the human beasts (Dn 6:25).

Today we're always facing the wild beasts of the godless secular culture, economic tyranny, government attacks on religious freedom, and so on. Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion, that is, a wild beast, looking for someone to devour (1 Pt 5:8).

When Jesus was with the wild beasts, He was not alone. The Spirit was with Him, and angels of God ministered to Him (Mk 1:12-13). The Lord can save us from the jaws of the wild beasts, human, animal, or spiritual (see 2 Tm 4:17). Nothing, not even wild beasts, can separate us from the love of Jesus (Rm 8:39).

Prayer:  "In God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?" (Ps 56:12)

Promise:  "Good and upright is the Lord; thus He shows sinners the way." —Ps 25:8

Praise:  Praise You, risen Jesus! Your first act after You rose from the dead was to offer Your disciples peace and reconciliation (Jn 20:19, 23). Praise You, Jesus, "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014

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