Sunday Bible Reflections
Jesus in today’s Gospel teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures.
He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His passion, death, and resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church—to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Three times in today’s Psalm we cry out a victory shout: “His mercy endures forever.”
Truly we’ve known the everlasting love of God, who has come to us as our Savior. By the blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ pierced side (see John 19:34), we’ve been made God’s children, as we hear in today’s Epistle.
Crowned with thorns, our Lord is lifted up on the Cross, where He dies as “King of the Jews.” Notice how many times He is called “king” in today’s Gospel—mostly in scorn and mockery.
As we hear the long accounts of His Passion, at every turn we must remind ourselves—He suffered this cruel and unusual violence for us.
Our readings today are filled with anticipation. The days are coming, Jeremiah prophesies in today’s First Reading. The hour has come, Jesus says in the Gospel. The new covenant that God promised to Jeremiah is made in the “hour” of Jesus—in His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father’s right hand.
The prophets said this new covenant would return Israel’s exiled tribes from the ends of the world (see Jeremiah 31:1, 3–4, 7–8). Jesus too predicted His passion would gather the dispersed children of God (see John 11:52). But today He promises to draw to Himself not only Israelites, but all men and women.
The Sunday readings in Lent have been showing us the high points of salvation history—God’s covenant with creation in the time of Noah; His promises to Abraham; the law He gave to Israel at Sinai.
In today’s First Reading, we hear of the destruction of the kingdom established by God’s final Old Testament covenant—the covenant with David (see 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89:3).
Jesus does not come to destroy the temple, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17)—to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan.
He is the Lord the prophets said would come—to purify the temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples (see Zechariah 14:21; Malachi 3:1–5; Isaiah 56:7).