1st Reading – Genesis 9:8-15
On this 1st Sunday in Lent, we look back to the covenant between God and Noah. In passing through the waters, Noah became aware of his relationship with God, and the rainbow became the sign of that covenant relationship.
2nd Reading – 1 Peter 3:18-22
This first letter of Peter was written around A.D. 64 to the people of God scattered throughout the wide area of Asia Minor. It is not addressed to any specific person or congregation. These people of God are thought to be of Gentile origin because this area was not known as a Jewish land or known to have been heavily settled by Jews.
The letter was sent by Saint Peter from Rome to console and strengthen these Christians in the new life to which they have been introduced by baptism. The disparagement, suffering and persecution which these people are encountering appears to have been coming from their pagan neighbors who revile them and abuse them for the
“name of Christ” (4:14). Saint Peter writes to urge them to be faithful to their calling, seeing that they are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (2:9).
In our reading today, Saint Paul is reminding them of the effect of their baptism – they now bear the sign of the covenant upon their soul.
Gospel – Mark 1:12-15
As Jesus started His public ministry, immediately after His baptism by John according to the gospels of Matthew and Mark, He was tempted by the devil. It is of this temptation and the very beginning of His public ministry that we hear about today.