Matthew 18:1-5, 10
Pictures of their young children are a prized possession of many proud parents. They value especially the wholesomeness and spontaneity that children reveal in candid snapshots taken without posing. In such pictures, children reveal their innocence. They are at an age where everything around them seems good and beautiful. They expect and depend on the love and care of their parents. And they respond to their parents with their love. It is about young children that our Lord speaks to us in today's gospel reading.
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Today’s second reading, a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, contains a hymn that early Christians presumably sung as they gathered to celebrate the Eucharist. The hymn expresses a fundamental reality of our Christian lives: that Jesus is God and at the same time Jesus is a human being.
Paul’s message to the Philippians is that they are to imitate Christ’s humility, “he humbled himself . . . even to his cruel death on the cross.” Paul is saying to them in effect, ‘this is how Christ lived his life – now you Philippians (and you and me in the twenty-first century) go out and do the same for others – imitate the humility of Christ’. What a wonderful challenge.
Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15; Luke 9:43-45
The story of Zechariah, at least the first part, is set in the context of the Jews returning from the Babylonian exile and the subsequent rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. In today's reading we find a man who is about to measure Jerusalem in order to have a starting point, I suppose, with which to begin rebuilding. But, before he can begin his measuring, an angel speaks to him, declaring that the Lord already has the plan and vision for the rebuilding.
The gospel also is set in the context of Jesus beginning to foretell the destruction of the temple of his body, and its rebuilding in three days (John 2:19). The Lord certainly has the plan and vision for this destruction and rebuilding that is, as we hear, quite beyond the grasp of the disciples.