The final daily readings from Mark’s gospel, on Monday and Tuesday this week, introduce us to the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. The Pharisees ask for a sign (Mark 8:11-13) The sign Jesus gives is his death and resurrection. The disciples at this point in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 8: 14-21) still do not understand him.
Unfortunately, we’ll only have readings from the story of Noah as the flood descends on the world. We’ll miss the ending of the flood narrative and the story of the Tower of Babel, great passages from the Jewish scriptures, The Genesis narrative deserves a better place in our lectionary.
The Passionist calendar on Tuesday has a memorial of the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden. We must enter this mystery through prayer, as Jesus did. St. Paul of the Cross understood the place of prayer for entering the mysteries of God.
The readings and rites of Ash Wednesday offer basic directions for entering the Lenten season–prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We’re administering ashes differently this year because of the pandemic. The 1st Sunday of Lent recalls the Temptation of Jesus, this year from the Gospel of Mark. This year is something of a desert for us too, isn’t it?
During Lent saints’ feast days are few, not to overshadow the readings and events of the season. Most of those celebrated are optional memorials in the liturgical calendar of the USA.
FEBRUARY 15 Mon Weekday Gn 4:1-15, 25/Mk 8:11-13
16 Tue Weekday Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10/Mk 8:14-21
Prayer of Jesus in the Garden Heb 5:1-9/Luke 22:39-46
17 Wed Ash Wednesday Jl 2:12-18/2 Cor 5:20—6:2/Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
18 Thursday after Ash Wednesday Dt 30:15-20/Lk 9:22-25
19 Fri Friday after Ash Wednesday Is 58:1-9a/Mt 9:14-15
20 Sat Saturday after Ash Wednesday Is 58:9b-14/Lk 5:27-32
21 SUN FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT Gn 9:8-15/1 Pt 3:18-22/Mk 1:12-