Gospel Reflection: Fifth Sunday in Lent

Reading I

Jer 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.


Jn 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven,
“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
Jesus answered and said,
“This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world;
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself.”
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Gospel Reflection

In today’s readings, we hear about the connection between the new covenant and Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In the First Reading, the book of Jeremiah presents to us a new covenant being made by God with the people of Israel. A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and His people where He promises to be their God, and they promise to be His people. It is not merely a human contract, but a divine relationship where God takes the lead in establishing and maintaining the relationship.

This new covenant is similar to the old covenant as it has the same partners (God and the people of Israel), the same duty to observe the Law, and the same relationship with God. This covenant is new because it does not require any action on the part of the people of Israel. The creation of a positive disposition on Israel’s part is entirely God’s doing – the law is inscribed upon their heart, making God Himself the teacher, and He has freely offered forgiveness of their sins without requiring their animal sacrifices.

In the Gospel, we read about Jesus recognizing that the hour of His sacrifice is near. He reveals His understanding that He must take on this sacrifice because it will bear much fruit. The fruit of Jesus’ death and resurrection is the completion of this new covenant. Through Jesus' death on the Cross, the sins of God’s people are forgiven. Through His resurrection, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through Whom they come to truly know God and receive the natural disposition to live according to the Law.

Today’s readings invite us to contemplate the immense love of God, who seeks us out and provides a solution to our weakness – He sacrifices His most precious Son so that we may return to a relationship with Him for all eternity. Therefore, let us reflect on the cost of our Salvation and seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reconcile our relationship with Him and restore our lives to a state of grace. Forgiveness has been freely offered by God, and the invitation is at hand to receive it. Let us take advantage of the graces that come with these next two weeks of Lent and come to Him with the confidence that He awaits us with love and mercy.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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