As I reviewed today's readings during the week in preparation for my sermon, I remembered that the Old Covenant of God goes far beyond the days of Abraham or Moses. The Old Covenant had its beginning in the days of Noah.
As we heard earlier, the rainbow in the clouds is the sign of God's
Covenant with us! Nowadays, whenever we see a rainbow in the
clouds, we should remember that it is God's prophetic sign of the
triumph of Jesus over Satan who was the ruler of this world.
Today's message from the Word of God clearly speaks of this
triumph. The triumph of Jesus is a perfect message during the
Lenten Season. It tells us that because of the triumph of Jesus
by His death on the Holy Cross, through Him and with Him, we can
also be triumphant in our battle against evil.
In the days of Noah, the people throughout the world had become
very evil, practicing all kinds of abominations that offended the
Lord God. Because of this, God told Noah to build an ark and to
gather his family and two of every kinds of animals. When the ark
was completed, Noah and his family, eight persons in total, entered
the ark with all the animals. Then, as we know from what the Holy
Bible teaches us, God flooded the world.
When the days of the flooding were over and the ark had touched
land, Noah, his family and all the animals left the ark. Then, God
spoke to Noah and to his sons.
God promised to establish a Covenant with Noah and all his
descendants. God promised that never again would He flood the
entire world to destroy every living thing on the earth. As a sign
of His promise, He gave the rainbow to the world for all to see in
Now, the flooding of the world is symbolic of the Sacrament of
Baptism. Also, the flooding of the world was prophetic of our
Baptism that was to come by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is
especially noticeable by the Words of God when He said, 'never
again' would He flood the world. The Words 'never again' are a
sign that God is appeased through the Sacrament of Baptism. For
through this Church Sacrament, we triumph over Satan by the grace
of God the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit and our faith in
the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
During the Second Reading from the First Letter of Peter, we heard
Peter speaking to the believers. Peter was comparing the
sufferings of the Gentiles who had become Christians versus the
sufferings of Jesus. Peter was telling them that since Jesus had
triumphed, they would also triumph. Their Baptism was the pledge
of their triumph for it gave them a share in the resurrection of
Just as Noah was saved by passing through the waters of the flood,
so also, Christians receive their first installment towards
salvation through faith in Jesus and their passage through the
water of Baptism.
Peter told the Gentiles that Jesus suffered for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring us to God.
The sacrifice of Jesus was not just for a few, but for all of us,
from the beginning of time until the end of time. He who was
sinless, took upon Himself the weight of our sins and allowed
Himself to be crucified in our place so God the Father may be
appeased. Christ died for us!
Having died on the cross, Jesus resurrected. He was raised to
Heaven and glorified by God the Father above all living creations.
Having been glorified, Jesus no longer enjoys a physical body. He
has been made alive in the Spirit.
In His Spirit, Jesus went to make a proclamation to the spirits
[1 Pet. 3:19] of those in prison. Jesus went and announced to them
His glorious triumph over evil.
In the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus was accused of casting out demons
by the power of Beelzebul, He spoke of this triumph. He said, "But
not one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his property
without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be
plundered." [Mk. 3:27]
In other words, Jesus was announcing that Satan would be tied down.
The Kingdom of God would begin its growth on earth. We, God's
baptized children, are living proof of the presence of the
spiritual Kingdom of God on earth. Through the Holy Catholic
Church, we as living stones, God's chosen people, a holy
priesthood, are united as one in the Body of Christ.
But there will come a time when Satan will no longer be tied down.
The Book of Revelations tells us that after Satan has been bound
for an indefinite period of time, "he must be let out for a little
while." [Rev. 20:2-3]
By that time, the Body of Christ will have grown so large, there
being millions and millions of baptized children of God, that
Satan will be powerless in his last days.
Through Baptism, the door to our salvation is opened. Through this
Sacrament, we receive the seal of Christ and the indwelling of the
Holy Spirit as our first instalment towards salvation. [2 Cor.
The Sacrament of Baptism does not remove the dirt from our physical
bodies for our bodies are called to die. But, it is an appeal to
God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
who has completed His work on earth and who is now sitting at the
right hand of the Father. There, all the angels, the authorities
and the powers are subject to Him, He who has all authority over
all of creation.
Jesus triumphed over disobedience, rebellion and persecution.
Through His triumph, we can also be triumphant.
During today's Gospel, we heard how Jesus was triumphant over
Satan. While in the wilderness for forty days (this being a
symbolic number), Satan tempted Him. Jesus did not allow Himself
to be seduced by Satan. He came on earth to overthrow the worldly
kingdom of Satan that had its beginning when Adam disobeyed God in
the Garden of Eden. Jesus came on earth to reclaim God's Kingdom
that was rightfully His, but stolen by Satan through sin.
Today's Gospel Reading finished with Jesus announcing in Galilee,
'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news.'
As members of the Kingdom of God, during the Lenten Season, we are
called to repent of our sins that offend God. We are called to
frequently remember the triumph of Jesus. We are called to
triumphantly live our faith in Christ as baptized children of God.
We are called to go forward and shine by our obedience, our
servitude, our charity towards others, through prayers, sacrifices,
all in the love of God.
Doing so, we know that in the end, our triumph shall also be
glorious through the salvation that we shall inherit as children