Saturday, February 28, 2009

1st Sunday in Lent

Sunday March 1, 2009 First Sunday in Lent
: Genesis 9:8-15 Psalm 25: 4-10
Response "Your ways O Lord are love and truth to those who keep Your covenant".

1 Peter 3: 18-22 Mark 1: 12-15

Before Biblical/Historical Scholarship, most Christian traditions interpreted the Scriptures allegorically, not literally.
In the last hundred and eighty years, since the discovery of the Science of History, archeological discoveries, unearthing of ancient libraries, the application of the disciplines of literature, language and social studies, have revealed and unveiled for us, many facts about the Historicity of Scripture, both Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).

The Scriptures were never intended to be a History lesson, even though many portions have approximate, Historical details.
Both Scriptures are to be taken theologically, a revelation of the meaning, rather than a disclosure of Historical or biographical facts.
The first and second readings are good examples of this phenomenon. There is no empirical evidence, a flood covered the entire earth. When the story of Noah was written, a popular tale, "The Epic of Gilgamesh", contained a flood story, centuries older than the flood story of Noah's time. There are many volumes of the Epic, and, a portion of one volume is dedicated to the immortalization of one of the characters, It-na-pus-tek. As the story goes, the Babylonian deities had problems with their human subjects. They were noisy and the gods couldn't get their beauty naps. So, they got together and agreed to flood the area and kill all the humans.
One god decided that was a bum idea. He argued," If you kill all the humans, who will barbequed the animals and clean up the mess". However, the other gods won out.
So not to overtly, betray the other gods, the disagreeing god had one of his favorite humans, It-na-pus-tek, build a fence. He was told to get on one side of the fence, while the god mused aloud, about what was going to happen on the other side. The god outlined what he,Itnapustek, should do. Build a boat with compartments. Some rooms would be for his family, some for animals of every sort, so, when the floods were over, they could repopulate the earth.
When the gods saw he survived, they decided the best thing they could do was make Itnapustek immortal.
The Priestly Hebrew writers in Babylon during the exile, thought the story was great. So, they adapted it to their God and assigned the reason for the flood to the sins of mankind.
They used the saving of a few as a foretaste of a merciful God. They had distressed their God so much, they thought He would kill them all, as they deserved.

1 Peter tells us the flood, prefigures Baptism, by which all humankind has rebirth, from above, in the Spirit.
Before Baptism, we were physically alive but spiritually dead; Post-Baptism we are reborn in Spirit and reality. By our love for one another, we become more spiritualized and, therefore, we become girded with Christ.

The Greek word translated, “Justification,” has a more literal definition, Divinization. We don't like to assume a Godly character, as we feel unworthy.
We're not! However, by our Baptism we are imbued with the Grace to become immortal.
Therefore, Christ, our brother, gave His life so we could be like Him, immortal.
All we need is love! (The Beatles)

Jesus began His public ministry after fasting in the desert and being tempted for forty days.
Lent is our opportunity to deny ourselves in reparation for past and recent sins. We ask God to forgive us as we forgive others.
Let us enter the season of Lent determined, not to deny ourselves, although, this is good, but, positively opens ourselves to being a help to others, especially our families and neighbors.

Imagine the horde of heavenly brothers and sisters waiting to welcome us into God’s abode with them! Praise God from Whom all blessings come!!!