February 21, 2021

First Sunday of Lent

Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus taking a journey. We read that the “Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert.” Jesus apparently felt compelled to make this journey. Something led him there. For 40 days he was there alone; he prayed; he fasted; he was tempted. Without much to distract him, this would have been a very contemplative time for Jesus. This was an experience, no doubt, where Jesus too “kept all these things, reflecting on them in his heart.” (Luke 2:19) He no doubt reflected on the examples of faith he had seen in Joseph and Mary. Jesus came out of this contemplative time ready to begin his mission of proclaiming the kingdom of God.

Joseph was compelled to make his journeys, especially the one into Egypt. Because of Herod’s intent to find and kill this rival newborn king, the Holy Family became migrants and refugees in a foreign land. This must have been a lonely time: living among strangers, struggling with a new language, being away from family and friends, trying to find a way to support themselves. The experience no doubt called forth much reflection, prayer, trust that God would guide them home. And finally an angel visited Joseph in a dream, telling him it was safe to journey home. With relief and joy, Joseph acted; he returned home to his beloved Israel.

Where is the spirit “driving” you this Lent? What dream is God stirring in your heart? What kind of actions or decisions might God be asking of you at this time? Maybe St. Joseph can walk with you and be your guide, as one who listened, journeyed, trusted, and acted.