Gospel Reflection Feb 21 – Fr. Morris
Sunday, February 21
First Sunday of Lent
Mark 1: 12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Although rather “stupid” from a strictly tactical and ‘continuity-of-command’ standpoint, we all tend to admire the leader who “leads from the front.” We respect a leader who endures personal danger in order to be in solidarity with their subordinates. The military commander who rides at the head of his troops may not be making the smartest choice, but it is certainly a courageous one. He is not willing to order the men under his command to face a danger that he himself is not willing to face.
Or — if martial imagery is unpalatable to you — then perhaps we can agree that part of the appeal of a TV show like “Úndercover Boss” is that we oddly respect a CEO who is willing—for the sake of better understanding their subordinates’ lives and work conditions — to be a good sport, and submit themselves to the comedic shtick of a reality-show.
We see in the Gospels how Our Lord “leads from the front.” He does not absent himself from the physical sufferings and temptations that all humanity experiences. When He tells us to pray, we know that He prayed long into the night. We are told to fast; He has fasted. We are told to trust in the will of God by the Messiah who sweated blood while praying in the garden about His coming Passion.
We should not be afraid to go deeper into the spiritual desert of Lent, of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, because we are following a Lord who has gone before us in the very same way. Whatever temptations we may find in this time can be conquered, for by grace we are given the strength of the Son of God who rebuffed Satan during 40 days in the actual desert.
-Father Matthew Morris