By Fr. Andrew Kelly
The believing community’s faith in Jesus is deepened as it listens to Mark’s Gospel. The Spirit drives the community into the wilderness as Jesus was in Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:12-15). The community goes with deep living faith.
As Jesus was tested so the community is tested to see if it will be unreservedly faithful to its God-given mission as Jesus was. In the testing the community finds solace and courage in the image of Jesus being tested.
The Spirit is with the community in the wilderness just as the Spirit was with Jesus. Even though there were wild beasts “… the angels waited on (ministered to) him.”
Angels are signs of God’s abiding presence even in the midst of testing. The same angels, the same presence, abide within the community as it is being severely tested to abandon the ways of Jesus.
The community’s great Lenten test is Jesus’ words: “… repent, and believe in the good news.” Conversion and living faith in Jesus is a both/and situation. Conversion is essential for believing. But at the same time, conversion is realized and sustained in believing the “good news.”
This Lent the Spirit is driving the community into deeper conversion and faith.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)