Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 18, 2018)

As we continue our Lenten journey, the prophet Jeremiah turns our attention to the new covenant God desires to establish with his people. “All, from least to greatest, will know the Lord. He will write the law on our hearts and forgive our evildoing and remember our sins no more.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus announces that the “hour” has come. When he is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all to himself. Jesus has chosen to strip himself of his divinity and become human like us so that we would know the great love God has for us.

Now he is preparing himself to be the grain of wheat that will fall to the ground and die in order to produce much fruit. This will be the hour of our salvation. Because Jesus is obedient to his Father whom he loves dearly, he will suffer and die for the sins of the whole world. He will reconcile the whole human race with God. With his death and rising, Jesus will complete God’s new covenant. Through the grace of baptism, God’s law is now written on our hearts. We become God’s children once again, able to call God “Father.”

When we go within our hearts to listen to God’s word, we must not be surprised that we encounter a challenge. Jesus will challenge us to follow him wherever he goes, to do the will of his Father, as he did. Like Jesus, we may feel troubled at times with what we have to face each day. Like Jesus, we will come to understand that our Father is with us in everything we do.

We have nothing to fear. We heard Jesus tell us: “My Father will honor whoever serves me.” That is Jesus’ promise to us.

Let us be faithful to the new covenant Jesus has made with us. Let us listen to our heart; it is there that God speaks to us. Let us strive each day to do with love all that our God asks of us. Let us ask Jesus, who has died and risen for us, to draw us closer to him and one another each day.