Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
By the time of Abram, the Israelites already have been given two previous commands or covenants with God. God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and puts them in charge of the created kingdom of animals, birds, and fish (Genesis 1:28). God promises Noah to never again flood the earth again and puts a bow in the clouds as a sign of God’s covenant with the world (Genesis 9:11). Today, we are told of God’s promises to Abram: 1) Abram will be called “Abraham” 2) Abraham will be the father of many nations with kings arising from his descendants 3) Abraham is promised the land of Canaan as a permanent possession and 4) God will always be their God (Genesis 17:3-9). Abraham is seen as a model for faith and the patriarch that Jews looked up to for guidance; thus, by Jesus claiming to be greater than Abraham (John 8:53) the tension between Jesus and the Jews becomes more palpable.
While the saying goes “no one leaves this world alive,” through Jesus, humanity has access to eternal life. With Jesus’ crucified love, Jesus defeated death, and in Jesus, God gives eternal life to everyone so that everyone can hope to live a life even more real than this one, the pope explained back in November. Death is not behind us, but in front of us, for in front of us is the God of the living the new time of joy and endless light and we can encounter this in prayers, in Sacraments and in community, the pope concluded.