Fifth Sunday in Lent

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Jeremiah 31:31-34
Hebrews 5:7-9
John 12:20-33


The first reading for this Sunday is a touching one because God is forming a new covenant with the Israelites. God says, “I will place my law within them, and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Many centuries later Jesus lived out this covenant in his life. The reading from Hebrews tells us, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…”

Although perfect in his divinity, the incarnate Jesus was perfected in death that led to resurrection. In the same reading, Jesus knows what is ahead of him. He knows suffering and death are coming. The humanity of Jesus is very evident when he says, “My soul is troubled now, yet what should I say – Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this that I came to this hour.” Jesus was obedient, even to being lifted upon the cross, but his death was not a loss, but rather the beginning of a transformative experience that made the risen Christ available to all – all of the time. It may be difficult to grasp but our coming death (whenever that unknown time may be) is not a loss but a transition into new life, eternal life.

Another important saying in the gospel reminds us that the seed must die to produce fruit. The Israelites had to die to self to be obedient to the law written on their hearts. Jesus had to die to self to be obedient to the Father. No less is expected of us. Have we borne fruit by the way we live our lives?

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and then Easter the following week. The days of Lent are flying by. How have we used this time? The word obedience means to listen. Have we listened to what God is asking of us? Have we been quiet so we can hear that message? Have we responded to various ways to die to self and bear fruit through the resolutions we made or have they been forgotten? It’s never too late to begin again!

“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Do you truly believe this? Are these words written on your heart? The choice is yours and yours alone!

How well have you listened to God during this Lent?

How can you become more obedient to God, a listening person during the remainder of Lent and in the days following Easter?

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