"At that time the Spirit led Jesus into the desert, and in the desert he remained forty days, tempted by Satan. He stayed with wild beasts and angels ministered to him. After John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and said, "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel."
On this first Sunday of Lent, Mark's Gospel offers us Jesus' experience in the desert. Desert and kingdom, barrenness and flourishing, death and life: verses that paint the landscapes of every person's heart. Jesus begins in the desert: in thirst, in loneliness, in the endless nights of the heart. He chooses to enter immediately into the landscape of our struggle to live. He stays there for forty days, a long time. He becomes humanity. He resists, and life emerges from the stones. The kingdom of God is similar to a desert that sprouts life, putting new life back into a world of broken and wounded people. A new, transformative, healing force, this is the good news: “God is near, convert and believe in the Gospel.” Believe in love. At the beginning of Lent, these words are a promise. For what converts our hearts is always a promise of more joy.
The passion that animates the life of Jesus is the project of love that the Father has for humanity: salvation. It is this profound conviction that impels him to meet every person, "to choose fraternity." (EG 91)
The "going out" of mission that Pope Francis recommends has its root in "mystical fraternity," where the personal relationship with God commits us at the same time to others (EG 92), without enclosing ourselves in an individualistic spiritualism. "In order to share life with people and give ourselves generously," says the Holy Father, "we need to recognize that each person is worthy of our dedication. Not because of his physical appearance, his abilities, his mentality or the satisfactions he can offer us, but because he is God's work, his creature." (EG 274).
For us Adorers of the Blood of Christ, this experience has a strong charismatic value: Jesus gave His Precious Blood for each person; each person is worth all His Love poured out on the Cross. Beyond any appearance, there is a sacredness that deserves all our dedication, our understanding and welcome, our intimate hospitality. "Therefore, if I can help just one person to live better, that is already enough to justify the gift of my life." (EG 274)
In the silence of my heart, I let myself be questioned by the Word:
- How do I recognize the sacredness of the other person?
- Do I sense the presence of the Kingdom of God in the person who lives next to me?
May the Spirit who led Jesus into the desert grant us the grace to accept the invitation to an authentic transformation of heart.