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Sunday, February 18, 2018

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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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"Reform your lives and believe in the gospel!" —Mark 1:15

Jesus began His public ministry proclaiming a direct command and challenge to everyone He saw. He proclaimed the need to repent and reform. The word for repent in this Gospel passage text is the Greek word metanoia. This word does not simply mean to be sorry for our sins, as appropriate as this is. The word means literally to turn around and go in the opposite direction. This repentance means to make a 180-degree turn in our lives if the direction in which we are traveling leads us away from God. This Lent, God's Word tells us: "Seek the Lord while He may be found" (Is 55:6) and "Turn now ten times the more to seek Him" (Bar 4:28).

The second thing Jesus commands besides repenting is to believe in the gospel (Mk 1:15). It is possible to change our direction, but not continue walking along the way of the Lord. If so, we are like the man who swept the trash out of his life, but never let himself be filled with God's grace (see Lk 11:24-26). Since he didn't fill his heart with the Holy Spirit, the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil filled the void in his life, and the final state of the man was worse than the first (2 Pt 2:20-21).

We must both repent and believe. We must turn around, walk in the path of righteousness, keep walking, and fill our minds and hearts with the Gospel (Ps 25:4-5, 8-9).

Prayer:  Jesus, I know you thirst (Jn 19:28) for repentance, both my own and that of everyone I know. May I devote my life to leading people to Your loving, forgiving mercy.

Promise:  "The reason why Christ died for sins once for all, the just Man for the sake of the unjust, was that He might lead you to God." —1 Pt 3:18

Praise:  Glory to God! Jesus has risen and will raise us from the dead. Praise Jesus forever!

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, May 10, 2017

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