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Blessed Virgin Mary

Weekly Reflection

Fifth Sunday of Lent 'B'

March 17, 2024


Jer 31:31-34
Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
Heb 5:7-9
Jn 12:20-33

The Lenten season has been a time for us to reflect on the essential teachings of our faith, to confront our own failures and express our desires for renewal, to become ever more aware of our weakness and inability to truly be messengers of the Lord's teaching to the world.

Today's readings get us ready for the most solemn week in the Church's liturgical year, namely Holy Week. The Responsorial Psalm is so appropriate as we pray:

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 (...)

a steadfast spirit renew within me. (...)
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.

Jesus is aware that He has come into the world precisely to live through the events of Holy Week. He doesn’t ask to be saved from their horror; on the contrary He has come for this purpose. Like a grain of wheat buried in the ground gives rise to fruitful new growth, so too Jesus will give His life for others. On Holy Thursday we will read of the Passover lamb that was sacrificed as a petition to God for the fruitfulness of the flock. Jesus calls His followers to be servants as He too became the Servant of God whose profound sufferings will be described in Isaiah's fourth servant song on Good Friday.

Jesus' Passion in John excludes a trial before the Jewish authorities, focusing rather on the trial before Pilate, for John sees Jesus' death as a confrontation between two worlds. the world of darkness and hatred and the world of light and love. Today he can say, 'Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out' (Jn 12:31).

Jesus' Passion in John excludes a trial before the Jewish authorities, focusing rather on the trial before Pilate, for John sees Jesus' death as a confrontation between two worlds. the world of darkness and hatred and the world of light and love. Today he can say, 'Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out' (Jn 12:31).

This salvation consists in a new way of life before God, a new covenant in which Jesus gives us in own Holy Spirit to live within our hearts as the source of values and way of life. No longer slaves to laws, we are now challenged to live in union with the Spirit who abides within us.

Today's readings offer the opportunity to touch on the major themes of Holy Week. It can be a great occasion to not only think about what lies ahead in the great rituals but also a time to ready our hearts to both, receive the message and to commit ourselves to live it.