A NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT
????Gen 9:8-15; Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (R.v.10); 1 Pet 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15
Traditionally, in the Catholic Church, today, being the First Sunday in Lent, we begin a journey with the Catechumens who are to be baptised in Easter. This journey starts with the enrolment of their names at the Rite of Election. At this point, the catechumens are encouraged to advance towards Christ with even greater generosity.
At Baptism, we enter into a covenant with God through Christ in the waters of the baptismal font. This water, as St. Peter tells us in the Second Reading (1 Pet 3:18-22), is the water of salvation which brings us into a deeper relationship with God. Remember that our relationship with God has been affected and defaced by sin. That was the situation of things before God sent flood over the earth at the time of Noah. Can you see why the flood of Noah’s time is considered as prefiguring the waters of baptism?
The flood was a sign of purification, purging the world of the evil that has befallen it. In the same way, through the waters of Baptism, we are purified and then become one with Christ. That means, baptism is a sign of a covenant.
Remember that after the flood, God made a covenant with the whole human race, with Noah and his household as a point of reference (Gen 9:8-15). In Christ, that covenant is renewed and extended in a special way. And, as many as are in Christ Jesus, victory over sin and tribulations is ensured.
Note that this union with Christ does not mean that we shall be immune from trials and temptation. Jesus himself was tempted as the Gospel (Mark 1:12-15) tells us. But he did not sin (Heb 4:15); his victory over sin and death becomes our victory too (cf. 1Cor 15:57; Rom 8:35-39).
It then means that if we cling to Christ, we can learn from him how to overcome the trials and temptation that come to us in life. And may this Lent be for us, a period of growth and renewal, faith and love, praise and thanksgiving through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
May you be blessed with a happy and victorious Sunday. Peace be with you.