As Mark tells it, the Spirit that drove Jesus into the wilderness was the Spirit that had just descended on him at his baptism. No sooner has he been assured of being God’s beloved Son than he is driven away to be tested.
Mark gives no clue about the temptations Jesus experienced, but he hints at the greater trial that is to come. John the Baptist had been arrested. This ominous event only seems to give Jesus’ mission greater urgency.
His call to repentance is forthright. It’s also entirely positive. It’s about making room for God’s new reign and taking the good news to heart.
That’s our Lenten imperative, more a gift to be welcomed than a task to be laboured at.
THE WEEK’S PRAYER FOCUS
We pray for all who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter, that their Lenten journey will be one of faith, fellowship and promise.
These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.
Dear friends, fresh from his trial in the wilderness, Jesus announces good news and calls on us to change our ways. Let us pray for the reign of God in our hearts and in our world.
We pray for Pope Francis. May his appeals for an end to the madness of war and the arms trade be heard and heeded by the world’s merchants of death. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for global conversion. May the entire human family renounce violence, greed and hate and undertake to work together for the good of all. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for all who negotiating for peace in the Middle East and Ukraine. May their diplomatic skills, patience and persistence bear good fruit. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for vulnerable communities around the world assisted by Caritas Australia. May our generous support for Project Compassion make a real and lasting difference in their lives. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for all taking part in this week’s National Catholic Social Services Conference in Melbourne. May they fulfil its aim of creating true communities out of a common effort for the common good. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for the women exercising leadership in Australia’s Indigenous communities. May they be strong, wise and fearless. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for the many Australian men at risk of taking their own lives. May they be saved from despair by the loyal support of trusted friends. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for our parish community, especially those accompanying the elect on their journey of Christian initiation. May this Lent be a season of faith and hope for all. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
We pray for the recently deceased . . . and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May all who have died in Christ be raised to life in him. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
Faithful God, in the waters of baptism you make us a new creation in Christ. Keep us free to follow him with all our hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord.