Mk 1: 12-15

At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

Gospel Reflection

‘The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness’.

Mark makes it clear that Jesus’ retreat into the desert is not a voluntary act. The Spirit drives Jesus where She wants him. This is a beginning – this rush of power; this gift of recognition; the handing over from John – but Jesus has to know what it means. We have to be prepared to be lifted up in the Spirit’s hands – we also have to learn what our discipleship means. In these first days of Lent have we given ourselves over to God’s will or have we been focused on pursuing our own aims; what we decided was the right choice; the right action?

If we have been ‘Spirit driven’ we will find ourselves, like Jesus, in the wilderness; the place beyond control; the place of encounter; the place of finding out. Our first reaction to losing control is to withdraw; to mistrust; to fear – the ideal territory for the devil’s work. The suggestion comes to take care of yourself first. But the invitation is to submit; to become part of the wilderness; to encounter the wild beasts; the untamed truths of who we are; where we have come from; what hurts us and what feeds us.

To know ourselves in God’s eyes.