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).
“What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).
Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.
The Liturgy this Lent has shown us the God of the Exodus. He is a mighty and gracious God, Who out of faithfulness to His covenant has done “great things” for His people, as today’s Psalm puts it.
But the “things of long ago,” Isaiah tells us in today’s First Reading, are nothing compared to the “something new” that He will do in the future.
In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s firstborn son (see Joshua 5:6–7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12–13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In the Church, we are made children of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God who makes known His name and His ways to Moses in today’s First Reading.
Mindful of His covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24), God came down to rescue His people from the slave drivers of Egypt. Faithful to that same covenant (see Luke 1:54–55, 72–73), He sent Jesus to redeem all lives from destruction, as today’s Psalm tells us.
In today’s Gospel, we go up to the mountain with Peter, John, and James. There we see Jesus “transfigured,” speaking with Moses and Elijah about His “exodus.”
The Greek word “exodus” means “departure.” But the word is chosen deliberately here to stir our remembrance of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt.
In today’s epic Gospel scene, Jesus relives in His flesh the history of Israel.
We’ve already seen that, like Israel, Jesus has passed through water and been called God’s beloved Son (see Luke 3:22; Exodus 4:22). Now, as Israel was tested for forty years in the wilderness, Jesus is led into the desert to be tested for forty days and nights (see Exodus 15:25).