Fifth Sunday of Lent




Fifth Sunday of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 35

1st 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.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15.

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

2nd 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.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 12:26

Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord;
and where I am, there also will my servant be.

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.

Catholic Daily Reflections

The Call to Die

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor

“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.” John 12:24

Death does not necessarily sound all that inviting to most people. So, how should we look at death?

First of all, death, literally speaking, is a passing from this world to the next. When our time comes in accord with the will of God, we should welcome it and anticipate our full immersion into the life of God.

But this Scripture passage speaks of death on another level. We should see ourselves represented by the grain of wheat that achieves its potential only by falling to the ground and dying. In that natural act, it is planted in the fertile soil and grows, producing an abundance of good fruit.

How should we see ourselves represented in this natural action? We do so by embracing death to self so that we can be planted in the fertile soil of the grace of God and produce an abundance of good fruit.

Dying to oneself means that we let go of all selfishness in life. First, all intentional acts of selfishness must be let go, but then even unintended selfishness must be let go. What is “unintended selfishness?”

Unintended selfishness is a way of referring to everything in life that you hold on to and cling to simply because you want it for yourself. This could include even good things such as a loving relationship. It’s not that we should do away with good things in life, such as loving relationships; rather, we must not cling to anything, even good things, for selfish motives. Love, when it is authentic love inspired by God, always is detached and selfless, looking only toward the good of the other. This is the most pure death to self that we can live. When this level of love is lived, that of complete selfless detachment, God enters into our lives and into each particular situation of our lives bringing forth an abundance of good fruit. This is a gift that is more powerful than anything we can do on our own, because it is the fruit of a total death to self, transformed by God into new life.

Reflect, today, upon your calling to die. First, reflect upon the literal death from this world that you will one day experience. Do not fear that moment; rather, see it as a glorious transition into the fullness of life. Second, look for ways that you can die to yourself, here and now. Identify practical and concrete ways that God is calling you to this form of death. Know that, in this act, glorious gifts of new life await.

Lord, I give myself to You and Your holy will in a total and sacrificial way. I choose to die to self so that You can bring forth new life from this act of selfless surrender. Take me, dear Lord, and do with me as You will. Jesus, I trust in You.

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