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Discussion Questions for Reading 1

During Noah's time, the floodwaters brought death as a punishment for the people's wickedness. For you as a Christian, what waters bring life?

For many of the world's people, water is very scarce and therefore a real luxury. We, however, may enjoy water in abundance and take it for granted. What will you do to show your respect for the gift of water during this Lenten season? Name one way you can remind others to show respect for all living creatures.

Reading 1 Genesis 9:8-15

Reading 1 Reflection

Today's reading from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells us how the story of Noah and the ark ends. Noah, his family, and the pairs of living creatures on the ark have survived the great flood that covered the earth. They have finally left the ark and emerged on dry ground. Now God has placed in the sky a beautiful rainbow as a sign of the covenant between God and his people. God promises that a flood will never again destroy "all mortal beings." Like a wedding ring, a rainbow is a sign of faithful love.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

What memories do you and your family have of the Baptism of various family members? How does blessing yourself with holy water as you enter and leave the church remind you of your Baptism?

How will you express your gratitude to your parents and godparents for bringing you to the "baptismal bath"?

Reading 2 1 Peter 3:18-22

Reading 2 Reflection

This letter was written to encourage the early Christians to remain faithful to Christ who leads us to God. The writer recalls the story of Noah and his family who escaped destruction on the ark. They sailed through the flood waters to a new life. "You are now saved by a baptismal bath which corresponds to this exactly," this letter explains.

In Baptism water is a sign of life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and conquered death so that we might enjoy eternal life.

What does conversion mean to you?

Discussion Questions for Gospel

In what ways do you want Lent to be a new beginning in your life as a Christian? What will you do to work towards these goals? Who or what might help you to experience Lent as "a new day dawning"?

Jesus stayed in the desert for forty days, praying and preparing himself for his mission. God has a mission for each of us. What can you do to learn what that mission might be? What might help you prepare yourself for that mission? What kind of "fitness training" might you do during Lent to grow stronger in resisting temptation as did Jesus did in the desert?

Gospel Mark 1:12-15

Gospel Reflection

Can you imagine a movie scene illustrating the first part of today's gospel story? Jesus is out in the desert where he is put to the test or tempted by Satan. But he is also surrounded by wild beasts and angel attendants. It must have been an interesting forty days Jesus spent preparing to proclaim the good news. "The reign of God is at hand," he announced in Galilee, and he called people to get ready for God's reign by reforming their lives.

Lent can be for us like a new day dawning--just like the one Noah and his family experienced when the flood was over. It is a time for a fresh beginning and a renewal of our covenant to live as God's people.

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