One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
The verse before the Gospel presents to us a reminder of the spirit of Lent, i.e., the word of God is spiritual food, but it cannot be “assimilated” without repentance (therefore, conversion) and faith. Thus, we experience how material bread (which stands for anything material: possessions, food, health, etc.) is not sufficient. We need something more substantial, that is the word of God that Christ came to proclaim.
The short gospel passage for the first Sunday of Lent is, nonetheless, full of content: it does abound in power what lacks in extension! Mark gets to the point and spares us the details; to find the latter we need to go to the other evangelists. If the reader does not know the context, this series of rather dry statements might motivate her or him to ask: How did the Spirit drive Jesus out into the desert? What did Jesus do in solitude for forty days? What is the meaning of the contrast between being among the wild animals and angels ministering to Christ? There is no description of the three well-known temptations of our Lord; neither is a transition point before we hear the Lord’s proclamation of the kingdom of God in Galilee. And we are left with an assertion that summarizes what we have just heard on Ash Wednesday during the imposition of ashes: Repent, and believe in the gospel. It is beautiful, isn’t it?
I would recommend for our reflection to bring to mind Verbum Domini, 87 on lectio divina and follow the steps that Fr. Randy Soto offers (click on the link below). It is a very useful practice to make the word of God become alive in our minds and hearts so as to bear fruit. Yes, because we live on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Here are the texts:
“Lectio divina … is truly “capable of opening up to the faithful the treasures of God’s word, but also of bringing about an encounter with Christ, the living word of God” … It opens with the reading (lectio) of a text, which leads to a desire to understand its true content: what does the biblical text say in itself? Next comes meditation (meditatio), which asks: what does the biblical text say to us? Following this comes prayer (oratio), which asks the question: what do we say to the Lord in response to his word? Finally, lectio divina concludes with contemplation (contemplatio), during which we take up, as a gift from God, his own way of seeing and judging reality, and ask ourselves what conversion of mind, heart and life is the Lord asking of us?
We do well also to remember that the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity.
Then we can benefit by following the steps of lectio divina from here:
Have a blessed and fruitful Lenten season.
[Readings: Gn 9:8-15; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15]