In today’s Gospel Our Lord discounts the empty threat of the Pharisees who say that Herod is out to get him. It may be true, but it is not part of his Father’s plan that he should die at the hands of Herod. Our Lord knows the designs of His Father are far greater than the designs of scheming men. He knows in his earthly mission that he will be bringing to fulfillment the mission of every prophet that testified to his coming: to bear God’s message to his people, and to suffer death for it due to their lack of faith. In his case, it’ll be different: when he mentions that “on the third day I accomplish my purpose” he is probably referring to the Resurrection, after which he’ll resume his place at the Father’s right side, and, as St. Paul reminds us in today’s First Reading, intercedes for us. Death will no longer work to silence the Word of God.
At the same time Our Lord is saddened considering all the prophets who’d gone before him and Jerusalem’s resistance to believing in him, both as God and as Messiah. At the heart of Jerusalem, David’s city and a testimony to the Messiah and all the prophecies concerning him, the Temple represented God’s presence among his people. Now God was present in the flesh, in Christ. When those who didn’t believe in Jesus turned their back on God’s designs through his Son it wasn’t long before that Temple was destroyed (70 A.D.) and never rebuilt: believers are what count, not buildings.
Our Lord is interceding for us right now at the right hand of the Father. Ask him for what you need, but ask him especially for faith and insight into whatever part of his plan he wants you to help him with. Believers not only second his plan, they help with it.
Readings: Romans 8:31b–39; Psalm 109:21–22, 26–27, 30–31; Luke 13:31–35.