Lent originated in the early Church as a season of preparation for those desiring baptism. From early times, this preparation included recounting the history of salvation, which is exactly what happens in the lectionary readings on the Sundays during Lent.
Through our baptism, we embrace the new and eternal covenant with God, which was brought into being by Christ’s death and resurrection. However, ours is not the only covenant God made with man: the covenants of the Old Testament are a great help in understanding what God has done for us in his New Covenant. That is why, in her preparation for Easter, the Church remembers the covenants of the Old Testament: to remind us of the stages of God’s plan for our redemption and to instruct those to be baptized.
All the first readings on the Sundays of Lent recount episodes from Israel’s history that show God’s graciousness to the people. The passages from the epistles all highlight the role Christ played in our salvation. The Gospel readings reveal Jesus’ glory even in the face of suffering, as well as the compassion and mercy of God.
Although we regard Lent as a season for repentance, any call to repent in the Sunday readings is only indirect. The emphasis in the readings is to assure us how much God has loved us. Their message is: be grateful, trust in God, and if necessary, reform your life. Continue reading “Feb 21, 2021: 1st Sunday of Lent (B)”