Sunday Bible Reflections
Our God is a consuming fire, the Scriptures tell us (see Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24). And in this week’s Gospel, Jesus uses the image of fire to describe the demands of discipleship.
The fire He has come to cast on the earth is the fire that He wants to blaze in each of our hearts. He made us from the dust of the earth (see Genesis 2:7) and filled us with the fire of the Holy Spirit in Baptism (see Luke 3:16).
We are born of the faith of our fathers, descending from a great cloud of witnesses whose faith is attested to on every page of Scripture (see Hebrews 12:1). We have been made His people, chosen for His own inheritance, as we sing in this Sunday’s Psalm.
The Liturgy this week sings the praises of our fathers, recalling the defining moments in our “family history.” In the Epistle, we remember the calling of Abraham; in the First Reading we relive the night of the Exodus and the summons of the holy children of Israel.
Trust in God—as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus.
Like the Israelites we recall in this week’s Psalm, we have made an exodus, passing through the waters of Baptism, freeing us from our bondage to sin. We too are on a pilgrimage to a promised homeland, the Lord in our midst, feeding us heavenly bread, giving us living waters to drink (see 1 Corinthians 10:1–4).
Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares to do in this week’s First Reading.
But even Abraham—the friend of God (see Isaiah 41:8), our father in the faith (see Romans 4:12)—did not know the intimacy that we know as children of Abraham, heirs of the blessings promised to his descendants (see Galatians 3:7, 29).
God wants to dwell with each of us personally, intimately—as the mysterious guests once visited Abraham’s tent, as Jesus once entered the home of Mary and Martha.
By his hospitality in this week’s First Reading, Abraham shows us how we are to welcome the Lord into our lives. His selfless service of his divine guests (see Hebrews 13:1) stands in contrast to the portrait of Martha drawn in this week’s Gospel.
We are to love God and our neighbor with all the strength of our being, as the scholar of the Law answers Jesus in this week’s Gospel.
This command is nothing remote or mysterious—it’s already written in our hearts, in the book of Sacred Scripture. “You have only to carry it out,” Moses says in this week’s First Reading.
Jesus tells His interrogator the same thing: “Do this and you will live.”
Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel: Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church.
Sent out by Jesus to begin gathering the nations into the harvest of divine judgment (see Isaiah 27:12–13; Joel 4:13), the seventy are a sign of the continuing mission of the Church.
Carrying out the work of the seventy, the Church proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom. She offers His blessings of peace and mercy to every household on earth, “every town and place He intended