Blog & Pastor Letters


01-31-2021Weekly Reflection


St. Augustine is quoted as saying, “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.” As I pondered today’s readings, looking for a theme, I could not shake the notion of prophecy as the theme. These readings sparkle with the connections between prophecy and the fulfillment of the coming of Christ the Messiah. As we look at some of these connections we have to consider, how could anyone not see the fulfillment of Christ in the Gospels.

Let’s begin with the dialogue between Moses and the Lord regarding the message Moses is to give to the Israelites.

Moses: “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you  from among your own kin; to him you shall listen.” (Dt 18:15)

The Lord: “This was well said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.” (v18)

Here are three additional connections (not in today’s readings). One, a reiteration in Psalm 80; second, the Father’s voice at the Transfiguration; then Jesus’ words of the great commission to the Apostles at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength. And we shall never forsake you again: give us life that we may call upon your name. (Ps 80:18-19)

Then from the cloud came a voice which said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” (Lk 9:35)

“All authority has been given to me, both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. . . Teach them to carry out all I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:17b, 19a, 20a)

These are a primary prophecy, and the identification and mission of Christ. He is the chosen one of The Lord, he is to be listened to, which is a direct connection to Moses message, and all that he was commanded by the Father, He passes on to his disciples.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. In Psalm 95 this is a caution, a caution that when you see the fulfillment of the prophecies, recognize them for what they are. A warning, of sorts, from the Psalmist to the faithful, then and now.

Similarly, St. Paul’s exhortation to the people of Corinth is a harkening to recognize the times they are living in; the time of salvation. It is for their “own benefit” and they are not to be distracted or fail to recognize the time.

In another context is the “Canticle of Zechariah”:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of his servant David.” (Lk 1:68-69)

In today’s Gospel Jesus can be recognized, indirectly, as the Christ.

Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.

The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. Then after he had driven out the demon, the people ask, “What is this, a new teaching with authority?” (Mk 1:27) Here Jesus is exercising two forms of authority, although from the same source: the authority to teach, an authority of truth, from the Father, and an authority of power, an authority that is efficacious. A power that drives out demons, which is one of many “signs and wonders,” miracles performed by Jesus throughout the Gospels. Power that can only further identify him as “the chosen one of God.”

In the book of Deuteronomy, which is a re-telling of the stories and the law, and brings the five books of the Torah to a close, itself closes with this lamentation: “Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (Deut 34:10)

In the Gospel of Luke, after Jesus raises the son of the widow of Naim, the people praised God saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us . . . God has visited his people.” (Lk 7:16)

Then finally, we should look at the Prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-18)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. . . He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.” (Jn 1:1, 14, 11)

In closing this reflection, or what could be called a brief study of prophecy, we hear this sad affirmation: “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.” Looking back at the dialogue between God and Moses, the Lord says, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin.” Although many of “his own people” recognized Jesus as the Christ, which was the beginning of Christianity, many did not. Throughout these 2000 years, as close as Judaism is to Christianity (as they are our elder brothers), there is still this great chasm which will only be resolved “at the end of time,” when the Messiah will come for the Messianic people of “his own,” and as “the Second Coming” for the Messianic people of the Church.