Reading I Gn 9:8-15, Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9, Reading II 1 Pt 3:18-22, Gospel Mk 1:12-15

On this first Sunday of Lent, the Lord invites us to be faithful to His alliance so that we can participate in His resurrection.

God said to Noah: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you…there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” In our time, we still experience inundations and other natural catastrophes; one may ask why God let all those catastrophes take human lives while He promised Noah that “there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” Has God forgotten His promise? Of course, He did not! God is always faithful, He keeps His word. It is important to realize that God made an alliance with us, this means that we also have a role to play. God is always faithful, but the same is not true for human beings. Those catastrophes are consequences of our unfaithfulness to God’s alliance. For instance, there may be inundation because we did not canalize a river. This may be due to the fact that the government did not have enough funds to canalize the river, but it is also true that some people use public funds for their own interests at the expense of population. Whenever we are unfaithful to God’s alliance, we betray ourselves and our brothers and sisters. As Christians, we should not betray ourselves and others because of bread or other material things.

To save us from our unfaithfulness, God sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our salvation. And the cross of Christ is the symbol of God’s alliance with us. And today, Christ comes to us with this message: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” Those words strengthen us in our battle against temptations. Like our Lord Jesus, we are tempted by Satan. We are tempted through love of food, of money, and sensual pleasures as the people of Noah’s time whom had no other cares except that of getting every kind of pleasure they could access. The other temptation is that of power, it is true that every authority comes from God, but when we are obsessed with power to the point of wanting to rule forever we are no longer recognizing God’s authority. Indeed, God is the only eternal Sovereign. Human’s desire of ruling forever does not come from Him but from Satan. The other temptations are those of lust and pride. Yes, temptations are real. Sometimes we may fall into sins like adultery for married people, fornication for youth and persist in them. Such sins are the consequences of our unfaithfulness to the covenant with God. Indeed, without God’s help we cannot overcome temptations.

Thus, let us take the Blessed Mary, Mother of God as our model of fidelity. When God contemplates her, He regains confidence in humanity, He is confident that we can overcome sin. May the Mother of God intercede for us in our struggle of overcoming all kind of temptation and infidelity.

Note: The 6:00 AM mass on Sunday February 21, 2021 at Mont Sion Gikungu was celebrated by father Hermenegilde Coyitungiye.

Christa Ishimwe