Gospel: Mark 1.9-15
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan.
10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the
Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son,
whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the
wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was
with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went
into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom
of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’
The opening Gospel is packed with treasures to carry with us on our Lenten Journey.
There is the humility of Jesus as he submits himself to John for Baptism. There is the violent
rending of the heavens in order that the full Trinitarian identity of God can be revealed.
There is the violent casting of Jesus by the Spirit into the wilderness—in Mark’s Gospel time of
withdrawal and contemplation always bears fruit. Jesus comes out of the wilderness with clarity
of vision and purpose: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent
and believe.” There is, in the economy of God, a fullness in having nothing. In the wilderness
the angels (and perhaps the wild beasts too) ministered to Jesus. As we read from Paul on Ash
Wednesday. “We are treated as having nothing and yet we possess everything.”