St. Simon

A relative of Jesus', possibly a first cousin. He is in the Gospel of Matthew, and is one of the brethren of Christ mentioned in Acts who was present at the birth of the Church on the first Pentecost.

Reported to have been at the martyrdom of Saint James the Lesser, he was chosen to succeed James as bishop of Jerusalem. In 66, before the city fell to the Romans, the Christians received a divine warning, and evacuated to nearby Pella, with Simon as their leader.

In the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem, Simon led the Christians back to the city where they flourished, performed miracles, and converted many.

Simon was eventually arrested, tortured and martyred for the twin crimes of being Jewish and Christian.

His death was that of crucifixion.

Genesis 9:8-15

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,
9 "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you,
10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.
11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."
12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:
13 I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,
15 I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Mark 1:12-15

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."

Psalms 25:4-9

4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.
6 Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness' sake, O LORD!
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Second Reading

1 Peter 3:18-22

18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;
19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

Lord, may I always serve You alone

1st Sunday of Lent (B)
Gen. 9:8-15 Ps. 25(24):4-5,6,7,8-9 1 Pt. 3:18-22
Mk. 1:12-15   (Ps Wk I )

The beautiful rainbow is a perpetual sign of God’s covenant with all humanity. God seemed reconciled to human weakness and vowed never to destroy the earth by water again. What had happened to all the people that drowned in the flood? According to an ancient tradition, they were kept in a spiritual prison. It is more likely that God was more merciful than that. In the New Testament, the author of 1 Peter insisted that Jesus descended to the realm of death and preached to those souls in prison, thereby setting them free. In other words, God never leaves anyone behind — no one is expendable. God’s salvation is for all, living or dead.

The opening proclamation of the ministry of Jesus is charged with importance. The time is fulfilled; the day has arrived. Change your hearts and minds and believe in the good news — the kingdom of God has arrived.

God is coming in a big way to take control of the world and establish justice. From now on, the world will be under new management — that of the Lord Jesus. The world’s evil systems and rulers are living on borrowed time — the future belongs to God and those who walk in God’s ways. We should not be attached to any earthly institution or structure. Each day we ask ourselves, ‘Whom do I serve?’ 

Lord, may I always serve You alone.