Light from within

Pencil Preaching for Sunday, March 13, 2022

“The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 29:1).  

Second Sunday of Lent

Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27; Phil 3:17—4:1; Lk 9:28b-36

The public ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the Jordan River. What he has been prepared for begins to unfold as he comes up out of the water and experiences the sky opening and hears a voice say, “This is my beloved Son.” Filled with a surge of joy and wonder, Jesus retreats into the desert to test this call to service.

After a remarkable period of ministry and controversy in Galilee, he and his disciples head south to Jerusalem. Jesus predicts rejection and his own death.  As they approach the city, he takes Peter, James and John with him up onto a mountain to pray. There, Jesus aligns himself perfectly with the will of God and is filled with light. Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, speak with him about his exodus, which he will complete in Jerusalem. Again, a voice says, “This is my chosen Son; Listen to him.”

The three disciples, key witnesses to Jesus, are half asleep and totally awake to the mystery Jesus is facing as he prepares for his death. The scriptures are coming to fulfillment in him. Later, he will take them with him into the garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal and arrest, a night of terror and fulfillment. They will flee as Jesus is moved to trial and his death on the cross.

With these events, the Gospel is told. Jesus obeys the Spirit, who has been preparing him in a hidden life in Nazareth, then urging him to connect with John, where everything he had learned in pieces finally comes together. What Abraham was promised is fulfilled in Jesus. What Moses experienced is fulfilled in Jesus. What Isaiah foretold is lived out by Jesus.

We are privileged to see this and to commit to its meaning now.  If we listen to the Spirit, then to Jesus, we begin our own journey home to God, through the valley of suffering to the mountain of revelation. “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 29:1).

Pat Marrin

Pat is the former editor of our sister publication, Celebration, and he also served as NCR cartoonist. After retirement in 2016, Pat continues to contribute to NCR with his Francis comic strip and Pencil Preaching.

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