First Reading
Genesis 9:8-15

God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”

Second Reading
1 Peter 3:18-22

Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Lent is a time of knowing more profoundly God’s love for us. The purpose of any good works that we do in Lent is to open our hearts more completely to God’s love. Just as the Book of Genesis reminds us once more that we have a covenant with God and God has a covenant with us, so also today’s Gospel recalls that covenant between God and us. The Kingdom of God is the expression of this sacred covenant.

When today’s Gospel tells us to repent and believe in the gospel, we need to be aware that the phrase could not mean at all the written gospel, because it did not yet exist. When our Scriptures refer to the Gospel, it can be translated as the Good News. The good news is that God has chosen to send His only Son into the world so that we can have life through that Son. That is Good News.

God loves us. That is Good News. God forgives us. That is Good News. God invites us to share His life. That is Good News. No matter how often we refuse God’s invitation, He continues to invite us. That is good News. No matter how often we sin, God is willing to forgive us. That is Good News.

Lent is not about thinking we are bad and beating ourselves up. It is about know that God loves us and invites us to know the Good News and to live it. It is always invitation and never condemnation.

In Lent we are invited to do penance, to change our lives, to believe in the Good News. This can be and should an absolutely joyful experience because we know that we are preparing for the joy of celebrating Christ’s Resurrection.

Let us embrace the small discipline of Lent so that our hearts will rejoice even more as we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection at Easter, the great Passover, the great event of all history, which unites us to the Divine Love.