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Sunday, February 16, 1997

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First Sunday of Lent

Genesis 9:8-15
Psalm 25
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

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why lent?

"You are now saved by a baptismal bath." —1 Peter 3:21

By far the greatest day of your life was the day of your Baptism. On that day, you became a new creation (Gal 6:15), "begotten from above" (Jn 3:3), born again "of water and Spirit" (Jn 3:5). Because of your new nature, you became adoptable into God's family. You became a son or daughter of God (Jn 1:12), a member of Christ's body (1 Cor 12:12), and a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). The Lord made a covenant of love with you (see Gn 9:9). You made a pledge "of an irreproachable conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pt 3:21). Original sin was washed away.

However, for many Christians, Baptism does not seem to be the greatest day of their lives, the event at which they received the power to transform the world. This is because Christians are not living their Baptisms. This tragedy is the basis of almost all other tragedies. Therefore, the Church has developed a most ambitious, international program for the renewal of our Baptisms. On Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, in every Catholic Church in the entire world, all Catholic Christians will be asked to renew their baptismal promises. In order for this to be a true renewal, we prepare for it by forty days of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Observe Lent. Then at Easter Mass, commit yourself totally to the Lord. Love Him more deeply than ever before. Renew your baptismal promises and change the world.

Prayer:  Father, may I never be the same after this Lent. Give me a new springtime.

Promise:  "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel!" —Mk 1:15

Praise:  Praise and honor to You, risen Lord Jesus Christ!

Reference:  (For more teaching on this theme, order our pamphlet, Lent and the Renewal of our Baptismal Promises.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996