February 23, 2013

2nd Sunday of Lent - C


The Example of the Son of God, Continued

This passage is near the midpoint in Luke’s report of the life of Jesus (the midpoint is at 9:51, when Jesus completes his ministry in Galilee and begins his journey to Jerusalem) [1] .  

A week ago, we heard the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry with the passage about the temptations in the desert (Luke 4: 1 – 13).  Looking at two key words found in both passages might help connect the some of the themes that Luke seems to emphasize.  In this way,  these two passages also help us focus on the purpose of  Lent [2].

Those two words are “Son” and “Jerusalem.”

In the first passage, in overcoming the three temptations, Jesus teaches us how the Son of God lives his life.  He does not putt himself and even his legitimate needs first.   He does not aim at controlling or ruling over others.  And he chooses to live according to the will of the Father.  

Now, in this second passage, the Father approves of the Son, and commands all to “listen to him.”  Jesus is the Son par excellence in choosing to do the Father’s will.

It is in fulfilling the Father’s will that he is “going to accomplish [his exodus] in Jerusalem.”

In the first passage, Jerusalem is the setting of the third temptation.  There, the devil tempts Jesus to test God. 

At the end of his earthly life, it will be Jerusalem where Jesus carries out his ultimate act of filial devotion and trust in the Father, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (23:46).  That is the exodus he is to accomplish.

There, the example of “the chosen Son of God” who we are invited to listen to, imitate, and follow.   

It is not just a journey for Lent.  It is the journey for life!

[1] and [2] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 74.

2nd Sunday of Lent - C (February 24, 2013)


Image: Carl Heinrich Bloch, Transfiguration

February 15, 2013

1st Sunday of Lent


The Son of God

The devil twice uses the phrase “the Son of God” in his challenges (temptations).  And Jesus three times teaches how the Son of God operates – with self, with others, and with God.

First, the Son of God is not self-centered, even when it comes to taking care of his legitimate needs (his hunger after forty days of eating nothing).

Second, the Son of God does not seek to control others.

Third, the Son of God does not manipulate God.  He lives his life according to the will of God.

Most significantly, the place of the third temptation – to challenge God is Jerusalem. [1]   There, at the end of His earthly life, the Son of God will ultimately render his very life to the will of the Father. 

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 90.

1st Sunday of Lent - C (February 17, 2013)


February 8, 2013

5th Sunday - C


“They Left Everything and Followed Him”

What did Simon and his companions leave behind? 

The list that often comes to mind includes their boats, nets, fishing gears  a career….  While it’s not included by Luke, one can also think of their families, the father Zebedee in the case of James and John….

How about their expertise and hardworking attitude in their trade?  Remember that Simon said to Jesus, “We have worked hard all night….”

They left those things and people. 

Not because they are bad.

In fact, they are good.  After all, Jesus made use of their skills and their boat in his preaching ministry [1] when he got “into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon. [He] asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.”

How about the bad stuff? 

At Jesus’ encouragement, “Do not be afraid,” they also left their weaknesses, sins, and doubts behind. Simon admitted that he is “a sinful man.”

What holds me back in following Jesus? Positive things? Negative things? My doubts? My sins? 

Jesus knows who he calls. 

And it’s not about whether I have the right stuff or not. It’s not about whether I am good enough or not. 

It is about the One who calls. He urges me, “Do not be afraid.” And he calls me to follow him.

Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, Mary was told and accepted the angel’s words, “Nothing will impossible for God” (Luke 1: 37) 
How about me?

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 124.

[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 90.

5th Sunday - C (February 10, 2013)


Image source:  Raphael, 1483-1520. Miraculous Draught of Fishes.

February 1, 2013

4th Sunday - C


Why Is Jesus not Accepted?

The people of Nazareth “were amazed at the gracious words that came from [Jesus'] mouth. They even “spoke highly of him.” So, they recognized and acknowledged that what Jesus was saying was amazing.

Prior to this time in their synagogue, they already heard of what he had done, and acknowledged that his deeds were special also. Therefore, they demanded Jesus to “do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.”

So, the knew what he said and did were extraordinary.Ir

Yet, they could not comprehend how it was possible that “the son of Joseph,” that ordinary neighbor whom they thought they knew, could say and do all that.

In the end, they could not see beyond the ordinary.  Maybe he was just too ordinary for him.

So, they rejected him.

Consequently, Jesus would never return to Nazareth [1]

Can I see God and God's extraordinary love in the ordinary people, things, and events of life?

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 122.

4th Sunday - C (February 3, 2013)


Image source: Gerard van Honthorst - Childhood of Christ