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.

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