Two important messages come to us today from the Word of God as we begin the first week of Lent.
The first two readings speak to us of Noah, who with his family was saved in the ark from the flood. St. Peter tells us in the second reading that the story of Noah is a figure of baptism. We have been saved through the waters of baptism, and now it is our task in the season of Lent to struggle against all that has stained the innocence we received the day of our baptism. We pray also for the many who are preparing for baptism in the Easter Season.
The Gospel gives us hope in our struggle against the sins and vices that have marred the image of God in us and weakened or destroyed the grace we received at baptism. Jesus went into the desert to be tempted. He won the victory over Satan, and we too will win the victory in Jesus if we are patient, if we rely on Jesus and turn to the grace he offers us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I encourage you once again to sincerely face your faults and weaknesses in particular the resentments and unwillingness to forgive that plagues our hearts. Let us turn to God in prayer, sacrifice and works of charity, sharing one another’s burdens in these difficult times. May Mary, the Mother of Mercy, obtain for us the grace of a true conversion, so that we may joyfully renew the vows of our own baptism on Easter Sunday.