Given on Wednesday in the first week of Lent at the Priory of Saint Dominic, Lymington:
In the readings given for Mass today and in the Office of Readings, we see the Lord compared to two Old Testament figures: Jonah, and Jesus the Son of Nun, that is Joshua. The bishop, Aphraates, reminds us that what Joshua did in sign and action for the people of Israel, Christ has fulfilled in reality for those who, through baptism, share in the new covenant. So as Jonah pleaded in intercession for the fallen people of Nineveh, takes three days to cross the city, and as he also returns after three days in the belly of the whale, so Christ fulfils and completes these prophetic gestures – in his heavenly intercession, in his harrowing of hell, and in his bodily resurrection.
In these days of Lent, we do well to acknowledge how unique a message, then, we find in the Lord: not simply a promise, but fulfilment; not simply a prophet, but God! In the person of Jesus Christ we find the unique path to salvation; in him we see how all time and history leads to the moment of his saving works, and how in the light of his coming nothing can ever be the same again.
That revelation is made even more clear for us in the sacred actions of the Mass where, through the action of the priest, the fulfilment of time and eternity – God himself – is found. He who offered himself for us, now offers us the life he has won, as the fulfilment of the baptismal covenant. The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things: Christ comes now in the lowly and humble forms of bread and wine, not simply as a prophetic sign or symbol, but in his fullness and reality, in order to show us what we are called to be and, if we are faithful, what we may one day become in his heavenly kingdom.