*HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B*
My dear friends, during Mass last Wednesday our foreheads were marked with ashes – a signal that we have begun the season of Lent and a reminder of our nothingness without the grace of God. Hence, the season of Lent exhorts us to return to God- through conversion and penance.
Beloved, the season of Lent therefore demands a radical transformation of the heart through the admission of our guilt, being sorry, repenting and doing penance. We can no longer put on hold our conversion- if today you hear his voice harden not your heart (Hebrews 3:15). For now is the acceptable time (2 Cor. 6:2) to leave your past behind and start afresh.
This call to change now is obligatory when one considers the first and the gospel reading of today. In the first , God tells us that He hates sin and will punish for it. In effect it was sin that led to the destruction of the world at the time of Noah. This notwithstanding, the assurance from God that never again will He destroy the world with water should be our motivation to repent .
In the Gospel, Mark says the temptation of Jesus followed immediately after his baptism. Beloved, being a child of God does not immune one from temptation. Also temptations in themselves are not sin but moment of discernment ; for they provide us with occasions where our resolve for God is tested. Therefore, in temptation the aim is not to make us fail but to offer us the chance to reaffirm our commitment to God. Hence, when we give in to temptation we wreck God’s plan for us.
My dear friend, the season of Lent therefore makes it imperative for us to reject sin and to follow Jesus. We are to see ourselves for who we are and leaving the past behind we begin anew . This then is our charge today and we cannot put it on hold.