Fifth Sunday of Lent Year B

Published on 12 Mar 2018
A painting by Sieger Koder showing Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry his cross.

‘If anyone serves me, they must follow me’

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God,

may we walk eagerly in that same charity

with which, out of love for the world,

your Son handed himself over to death.

As our Lenten journey brings us ever nearer to Jerusalem, this week’s readings promise us the hope of forgiveness and eternal life as we try to stay alongside Jesus in his suffering.

However the people of Israel have behaved in the past, God’s new covenant, written on their hearts, will overlook all their sins. They will now know their merciful God as he truly is (First Reading).

The Psalm invites us to bring all our guilt to our compassionate God, in trust that he will utterly blot out our sins. We rejoice to know that God will renew our hearts and keep us steadfast.

The Second Reading recalls the lonely suffering of Jesus as he might have prayed in Gethsemane. But even here, Jesus is deeply humble and obedient, trusting that the Father is working through him, making him the source of salvation for all who love him.

In the Gospel, Jesus describes the grain of wheat that dies and is buried before it bears fruit. In the same way, Jesus himself will die and rise again, drawing all of us to him. Like Jesus, we, too, are made for eternal life, and are united with him as we serve him.

This week, let us ask the Lord for strength as we try to follow him in love and obedience. We pray that he will keep us safely by his side even when our own path leads us to share in his suffering.

I will be [your] God and [you] shall be my people.   First Reading

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.   Psalm

How infinitely rich he is in grace.   Second Reading

Unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.  Gospel

‘We should like to see Jesus.’   Gospel

This week’s texts if you want to reflect further

Jeremiah 31: 31–34; Psalm 50 (51); Hebrews 5: 7–9; John 2: 20–33

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