Lent bids us to return to the innocence of baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of baptism, Peter reminds us in today's Epistle. And God's covenant with Noah in today's First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1--9). We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today's Gospel.
Jesus is portrayed as the new Adam--the beloved son of God (see Mark 1:11; Luke 3:38), living in harmony with the wild beasts (see Genesis 2:19--20), being served by angels (see Ezekiel 28:12--14). Like Adam, He too is tempted by the devil. But while Adam fell, giving reign to sin and death (see Romans 5:12--14, 17--20), Jesus is victorious. This is the good news, the "gospel of God" that He proclaims. Through His death, resurrection, and enthronement at the right hand of the Father, the world is once again made God's kingdom.
In the waters of baptism, each of us entered the kingdom of His beloved Son (see Colossians 1:13--14). We were made children of God, new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 4:3--7). But like Jesus, and Israel before Him, we have passed through the baptismal waters only to be driven into the wilderness--a world filled with afflictions and tests of our faithfulness (see 1 Corinthians 10:1--4, 9,13; Deuteronomy 8:2,16). We are led on this journey by Jesus. He is the Savior--the way and the truth we sing of in today's Psalm (see John 14:6). He feeds us with the bread of angels (see Psalm 78:25; Wisdom 16:20), and cleanses our consciences in the sacrament of reconciliation.
As we begin this holy season, let us renew our baptismal vows--to repent and believe the gospel.
1 Pt 3:18--22
Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.