5th Sunday of Lent

First reading: 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.

Second reading: Heb. 5:7–9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel: 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.

In other words

by Fr. John Seland, SVD (Japan)

John writes so skillfully that he enables us to experience the joy Jesus had when the disciples came and told him that some Greeks would like to see him. This was the sign Jesus had been waiting for, the sign that not only Jewish people, but foreigners, too, were beginning to accept him as a prophet or even more, maybe the Savior that they had been longing for had finally come to offer them a way to fulfill their deepest desires.

At the same time, Jesus was realistic. His joy was mingled with the realization that within a short time, he would be raised up on a cross. But that thought did not dampen his present joy, knowing that when raised up, even more people would come to see him as God’s chosen Son sent into the world to lead each person closer to God.

Jesus used this opportunity to clarify why he desired to offer his life. His sacrificial death would draw everyone to the Father. And in this way Jesus would glorify the Father. But Jesus’ wish to glorify the Father was happening the moment the Greeks came to talk to him. In his wish to do the Father’s will, Jesus gave glory to God.

May we also commit ourselves to God in the same way Jesus did so that God may be glorified. All that is necessary is to try our best to please God in everything we do. In seeing this, may God enable us to experience the same joy that Jesus had when he became aware that the fire that he had come to cast on the earth was beginning to burn in the hearts of good people seeking union with God.

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