1st Sunday of Lent

Lenten Journeys

1st Sunday of Lent

This Sunday, we reflect on today's readings with Sr. Rachel O'Riordan

18 February 2018

1st Sunday of Lent

Through this first week in Lent, we introduced you to Quasi, who was accompanied by staff and volunteers from JRS Europe as he journeyed across land and sea in search of safety.

For Qusai, life in Syria had become hopeless and empty of any future prospects. By having faith in himself, friends and strangers, Qusai was able to make the treacherous crossing to Europe. Although his journey was fraught with suffering, Qusai’s courage was met by great generosity in those, such as Ahmed and Eleni, whom he encountered on the way.

Today as we reflect on the Sunday Mass readings, we remember that through the times of suffering in our lives, God is present and close to us.

Come back to me, with all your heart

Sr. Rachel O’Riordan, one of our volunteers, reflects on each of today’s readings. We invite you to join her in a space of prayer and reflection.

During Lent God invites us in a profoundly personal way to “Come back to me, with all your heart.” (Hosea 14:1-3)

Ashamed of our sinfulness we make excuses not to start the journey; preferring instead to postpone the moment of surrender but, just like the father of the prodigal son, God is eagerly waiting for us on the road.  There will be no judgement simply the gift of unconditional love.


“God said:, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations'”

Genesis 9:8-15
With the image of the rainbow God has given us a powerful symbol of his covenant and care. “I set my bow in the clouds and it will be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth”.  Sometimes though, when darkness threatens to overpower us, and conflicts and difficulties diminish our faith we need those latter day Noahs who, by their faith and encouragement, call us into new hope.

Is part of our vision this Lent to be an encouragement for one another, can we remain with someone who has lost their way?  Can we call each other back to an ideal of relationship, with God and with each other which far from being confining invites us to liberation? It is easy to forget that God still speaks directly to us day by day. Moreover, all that is required of us is ‘to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God”.


“That water is a type of baptism which saves you now…through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

1 Peter 3:18-22
In Baptism, God not only calls us into an intimate friendship with Him but seals that friendship with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift, which inspires and empowers us. When we respond to that inspiration “We become partners in the ministry of reconciliation and healing for our world”. 

In Lent we ask ourselves ‘what kind of things do I need to help me grow in my faith’?


“The spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.”

Mark 1:12-15
Images of Jesus in the wilderness, tempted, lonely, afraid and hungry make us feel uncomfortable.  There is some consolation though in the words ‘that angels ministered to him’.  Maybe the reading is designed to help us develop and understand those times in our lives when we feel alienated, alone and challenged by our circumstances.  The temptation is to avoid the challenges and channel energies into avoidance. If we can face them though we will emerge from that lonely place with a new integrity and a stronger relationship with God.

Today and every day let us remember with thanksgiving the invitation that opened our hearts to new possibilities of intimacy with God.

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Image credit: A family share a moment together, taken by Darrin Zammit Lupi

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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