Every normal young girl dreams of the day when a young man falls in love with her and places a ring on her finger as he asks her to marry him. Her eyes sparkle like the diamond on her ring as she shows it to all her friends. This is the sign of her lover's promise of a future marriage when they will both make a solemn promise before God to remain faithful to each other until death do they part. Every sacramental marriage witnessed by the Church is a solemn covenant.
In today's first reading God places His engagement ring, a rainbow, in the sky as a sign of a future final covenant with mankind. Jesus is the fulfillment of all God's previous covenants. He is God in the flesh and the bridegroom of His bride the Church, with whom He made an everlasting covenant at the last Supper. This covenant is renewed by God and His people at every Mass every time they receive Holy Communion. In today's Psalm Response, several times we will pray, 'Your ways, O Lord are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.'
Every bride dreams of a perfect man as her future bridegroom. Jesus is the only perfect man ever to live. His love for us is unconditional and infinite. Today in the Gospel, He prepares to court His future bride, the Church, by His retreat in the desert where He is tempted but does not sin. His Church is not perfect and our love is not infinite and we all have sinned. We need to seek forgiveness and reconciliation as today's Gospel suggests when it ask us to 'Repent and believe the Gospel.'
As we begin Lent this week, let us meditate on the infinite love of Jesus who already laid down His life for us, so that we can be with Him forever in heaven. Let us strive to love one another more and more each day by doing little things to show our love for Him. Let us strive to be more ardent in prayer and fasting, and very generous in our almsgiving to the less fortunate among us. This will then be our preparation period for a true Easter celebration when we all come together as a Church to renew our baptismal promises, which began our solemn and eternal covenant with our God, as individuals, and as a Church. May each of us, at the end of our earthly life hear Jesus the bridegroom say, "Come my beloved enter the Kingdom prepared for you." This will be the final fulfillment of our solemn covenant with our God.