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1st Sunday of Lent - Cycle B

Mark 1:12-15

“He was among the wild beasts.”  (Mark 1:13) 

This familiar passage often causes us to recall the weight of Jesus’ pain, suffering, and temptation.  Undoubtedly, He experienced the fullness of all those things during His forty-days in the desert.  

What if this time, however, we drew our attention to the fullness of love which would bring our God to do this.  The fullness of love which would bring Jesus to be among the wild beasts.  Not simply tolerating them, but with them.  For isn’t that what He is all about?  Jesus never chose to focus his attention on the outwardly perfect or important.  He chose to focus on the wildness, the ugliness, and the shame, so He could pour out his healing love.  It’s this same Jesus whose ministry would go into the depths of broken humanity and encounter the sick and possessed.  The same Jesus who comes into the wild and messy parts of our own hearts, without a hint of rejection.  He’s the same Jesus, who, I imagine, when asked what was going through his mind during these forty-days, would look you lovingly in the eyes and say, “I was thinking of you.”  

Jesus was not afraid of his desert.  And He is not afraid of yours.  Quite the contrary, He is waiting for you there.  This Lent, choose to abide with Him in the deserts of your life, in the wild parts of your heart, and listen for the quiet but unmistakable voice of love that is whispering to you through all the madness. He desires to make you whole.  Let that be the desert you enter into.  May your goal be not to champion fasting or penance for its own sake, but instead to direct everything you do to and for the love that would do anything to have you.  

In whatever way the Lord has called you to move, may every sacrifice you offer, every prayer you lean into, every fast you make, come from a mind with the face of our Lord ever-present before you, and a heart that can joyfully proclaim, “Thinking of you, Jesus.” 

By Maddie Garcia



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