Introduction of the Readings
First Reading: Genesis15:1–12, 17–18
Our Hebrew scripture lesson tells of the promise of many descendants and of a covenant guaranteeing a homeland which God made with Abraham (who at that time was known as Abram).Abram had no children and was planning that one of the slaves born in his house would be his heir. Now he puts his faith in God and is accepted into a right relationship with the Lord. A covenant is then established by means of an ancient custom. Animals are divided in half and, in the form of smoking and flaming symbols, God passes between them.
The psalmist expresses great trust and confidence in the Lord and asks always to be in God’s presence.
Second Reading: Philippians3:17–4:1
In this reading Paul warns of enemies of the cross of Christ and urges the disciples in Philippi to stand firm in the hope of the glory to come.Previously Paul has told how he had learned to count all privileges of birth and background as of no value in comparison with faith in Jesus. He asks the Philippians to imitate him, and to be wary of those who glory in material appetites and values, whether religious or otherwise. Christians are to see themselves already as citizens of heaven, expecting Christ to come and to transfigure their present bodies into the form of their Lord’s own resplendent existence.
In our gospel Jesus is disdainful of King Herod’s threat and expresses his determination to fulfill his prophetic destiny in Jerusalem.Jesus’ words emphasize his struggle against the forces of evil and illness and his expectation concerning what will soon happen to him in Jerusalem. He laments over the city, once chosen for God’s temple, which has killed so many prophets before him.