Sunday Bible Reflections
Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.
As His disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” He tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).
All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.
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).
The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week’s First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test.
The Church has always read this story as a sign of God’s love for the world in giving His only begotten son.
Lent bids us to return to the innocence our baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of Baptism, Peter reminds us in today’s Epistle.
And God’s covenant with Noah in today’s First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1–9).
We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today’s Gospel.
In the Old Testament, leprosy is depicted as punishment for disobedience of God’s commands (see Numbers 12:12–15; 2 Kings 5:27; 15:5).
Considered “unclean”—unfit to worship or live with the Israelites, lepers are considered “stillborn,” the living dead (see Numbers 12:12). Indeed, the requirements imposed on lepers in today’s First Reading—rent garments, shaven head, covered beard—are signs of death, penance, and mourning (see Leviticus 10:6; Ezekiel 24:17).
So there’s more to the story in today’s Gospel than a miraculous healing.
In today’s First Reading, Job describes the futility of life before Christ.
His lament reminds us of the curse of toil and death placed upon Adam following his original sin (see Genesis 3:17–19). Men and women are like slaves seeking shade, unable to find rest. Their lives are like the wind that comes and goes.
But, as we sing in today’s Psalm, He who created the stars promised to heal the brokenhearted and gather those lost in exile from Him (see Isaiah 11:12; 61:1). We see this promise fulfilled in today’s Gospel.
Last week, Jesus announced the kingdom of God is at hand. This week, in mighty words and deeds, He exercises His dominion—asserting royal authority over the ruler of this world, Satan (see John 12:31).
Notice that today’s events take place on the sabbath. The sabbath was to be an everlasting sign—both of God’s covenant love for His creation (see Exodus 20:8–11; 31:12–17), and His deliverance of his covenant people, Israel, from slavery (see Deuteronomy 6:12–15).