Fifth Sunday of Lent
Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15,
Letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews 5:7-9, & John 12:20-33
This field painting is by Vincent van Gogh, circa 1887.
In today's first reading, the prophet Jeremiah comforts God's people by telling them who they will become. They were the people with whom God made an old covenant, but now a "new covenant" will make them even more identified as God's people. No one will have to teach them; no one will have to teach their friends or relatives because their identity, their names, will be written not on stone tablets as the old covenant was but written but on their hearts. "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." They will always remember who they are and that God will "remember their sins no more."
Did you notice that we have "sound effects" in today's Gospel narrative? While Jesus is speaking, a clap of thunder brings His listeners to attention. Our Lord has been talking about being like a grain of wheat that must fall onto the earth to bring forth abundance. This is what the "glory" is about in John's Gospel; that Jesus will give Himself up for the world so that there will be abundant life shared with that world. While the crowd heard thunder, Jesus heard His Father's reassuring voice that His name will be glorified.
Every moment of His life, Jesus was Himself. He was obedient to God even to the moment of His death on the cross. He was grateful for who He was and He knew His Father's heart. He could never be separated from His identity—and neither can we.
How privileged we are to live in the time of the New Covenant. I say this because God offers us the possibility of a close friendship with Him and gives us His grace in superabundance. Under the Old Covenant, we would not even be His people, since we are Gentiles and not Jews. Today, we approach our Father with confidence, assured of His love for us and His offer of life because of the New Covenant. Thanks be to God!
Question of the Day: How will you hear God's voice to understand who you are and who you will become?
Prayer: "Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there also will my servant be." Amen.