Blessed Sacrament Parish
Amherstview, Ontario

Saint Linus
Bath, Ontario

Saint Bartholomew
Amherst Island, Ontario
Homilies from Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 1st Sunday of Lent

February 18, 2024

Today is the first Sunday of Lent, a season of Renewal. The season of Lent provides us a great opportunity to examine how is our Christian life as chosen people by God to be part of His kingdom. Therefore, on this first Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to renew our covenant with Him.

Our first reading recounts the unconditional covenant between God and Noah. Noah represents humanity, so we are part of it with God. This is a covenant of renewal and restoration. This covenant was sealed with a rainbow as a sign of God’s faithfulness. Also, it is a reminder that only God can judge and save.

One interesting thing about it is that even in our own time, we can experience and see the rainbow and recall it as a visible sign of this covenant. From now on, each time we see that sign, it should remind us of God’s promise: “When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my Covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh”.

This covenant is the security that God has been always faithful and just with us. Unfortunately, humanity throughout history has been unfaithful to Him and His covenant. That is why He sent His Son to restore His Covenant. Therefore, this season, God offers us another opportunity to renew it with Him through Christ.

In the second reading, Peter reminds us of God’s New Covenant with us through Christ. He paid the great price in order to restore us to God. Christ renewed the covenant with His own blood. This renovation included the opening of the spring of baptism through which we are purified and restored to God.

Hence, all of us who are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ are part of this new covenant. Each year, the Church provides us with a new opportunity through the period of Lent to reflect upon this new covenant with God.

Our Gospel from Mark narrates the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness by Satan, and the sacrifice He made there in order to prepare Himself for His mission of the renewal of God’s covenant with His people. Therefore, today’s Gospel reminds us that, as Jesus was tested, so we will all be tested in our Christian life too. The devil still exists and continues tempting us, when we do not expect it. However, this should not frighten us, because the Holy Spirit, who helped Christ in the wilderness is always with us. The Holy Spirit will give us the calm, courage, and patience when we are tempted. Also, this Gospel reminds of the 40 days of Lent, as a period of sacrifice and conversion when we need to ask God for forgiveness for all the moments, we have not been faithful to our covenant with Him. Considering this, we are going to have a penance service for Lent on March 03 at 4pm. All of you are welcome to take part in it.

As we prepare these weeks of Lent to renew our Covenant with God one more time through the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we must persist in prayer, generosity, fasting and abstinence to be ready to take part in the renovation of The New Covenant.

Peace be with You!