Sunday Gospel reflection: We are called to protect all living creatures

First Sunday of Lent, Year B

"The Temptation in the Wilderness," 1898 (oil on canvas) by Briton Riviére (1840–1920). Photo: Public Domain
“The Temptation of Christ,” (16th century) by Simon Bening (circa 1483–1561). Photo: Public Domain

Today’s First Reading is the conclusion of the 40-day ordeal of Noah, his family, and all the creatures in the ark during the Great Flood. Note that the covenant God declares is not only with Noah and all human beings, but also and equally between God and the earth — the birds and the wild and domestic animals. The beautiful rainbow is God’s reminder to us of this sacred shared covenant.

Does this reading not tug at our consciences? God’s faithfulness toward us and toward all creatures is sure. We also are called to be faithful to our promises and so to change habits that harm the environment and thus God’s creatures.

We are called likewise to speak up when individuals, companies or governments cause such harm. If the survival of “every living creature” is God’s concern, it must also be our concern.

The Gospel tells of Jesus’ ordeal of fasting and temptation. He was with the wild creatures in the wilderness, but there is no suggestion that he sought to harm them or they him. When he returned, he was ready to proclaim the Good News of salvation.

Today’s Psalm can help us find courage during Lent to examine our lives honestly: Our God is a God of steadfast love who instructs us when we fall short and guides us in our humility.

— Beth Porter


Genesis: 9:8–15

Psalm 25: 4–5, 6–7, 8–9

1 Peter 3:18–22

Mark 1:12–15

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