The journey, the foreign land, oppression, deliverance from God, the great exodus and finally the arrival and the gift of the land constitute “the paradigm” of each “story of salvation”, may it be personal or collective: in Jesus Christ this journey has its beginning and its fullness. The offering to God of the first fruits becomes the occasion and the way to proclaim the ultimate meaning of the whole of this event: celebrating communion among people and their Lord “returning” to Him that what we have received from Him, namely, not a possession, but a word and a way of communion. The Egyptians mistreated us, humiliated us… then we cried… the Lord hears our voice… “and so today, we can take possession of these words to “describe” in their deepest and truest levels our personal and collective history.
Proverb 3,9: Honor the Lord with your belongings and with the first fruits of your crops
Rm 11,16: If the first fruits are holy, so also will be the dough; if the root is holy, so also will be the branches.
The righteousness that comes from the law assumes that a “man that puts it in practice” that “through it it he shall live”. The righteousness that comes by faith takes off by half every hypothesis of our actions: neither to climb to the heavens to make Christ descend, nor to descend into the abyss to bring Christ up from the dead. Jesus, descended to our flesh and to our wounded story, descended until the end of His Cross, and Jesus resurrected from the dead, He is close to us. “Close to you is the Word (that is Jesus), on your mouth and in your heart. ” And it is this that allows the mouth to proclaim that “Jesus is the Lord!” and to believe with the heart that God has raised Him from the dead: and this is the salvation. Without any condition connected to the law, for this the salvation is an offering to all, to Jews as well as to Greeks. There is not much distinction, because “He is the Lord of all, rich to all those who invoke Him”.
Ps 71,1: In you, Lord, I take refuge, never will I be disappointed.
Phi 1,20: According to my ardent waiting and the hope that in nothing will I be disappointed.
Evil is really a… mystery, a reality greater than man and of his every potentiality. The same personification in the devil is not an imaginative fantasy, but contributes to underline the reality of an enemy, against which man succumbs, if not rescues himself from the one who is stronger. In our passage, Jesus is presented and is revealed as “Man of God”, humanly exposed to the violence and to the power of the evil, and rescued and saved by the power of God. The Word that we receive today is, however, an image of a clash between evil and human fragility, visited and saved by God. The devil addresses Jesus with that “If you are the Son of God …” Jesus illuminates the deep face of this sonship which is strong not for power and worldly belongingness, but to humility and total communion with the Father.
Is 1,7: your land is the desert, your cities burned up with fire.
Ap 17,3: The angel of the Lord has led me into the spirit of the desert.
For personal reflection or in groups:
– What do you think that you can offer to the Lord?
– Do you believe more the Law or the act of Jesus Christ?
– How do you look at the clash between good and the evil?