Fifth Sunday of Lent Reflection
Listening to the readings of the 5th Sunday of Lent, I become aware of God’s loving plan for us humans. In the reading of Jeremiah, we get a glimpse into the loving compassionate heart of our God, ever seeking the redemption of all “from the least of them to the greatest.” God promises that his law of love will be inscribed on our hearts enabling us to truly know and love God directly, in intimate union with the Holy Trinity. We could say we will know God by heart.
Deeply aware of my own weaknesses, sinfulness, and frailty and painfully considering our world situations of hatred, revenge, violence and war, I ask if this desire of our God is just a dream, a utopian idea. Will it ever be realized?
The letter to the Hebrews speaks of one who has been made perfect, by freely surrendering his human will in love to his Abba. The loud cries and tears of Jesus were heard in his glorious resurrection. But where does that leave us?
Today’s gospel passage has been called the agony of Jesus in John’s gospel. Jesus is referring to suffering and death when he says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” It is not a single grain that rises. In Baptism we have died with Christ and risen with him. We have been grafted onto the vine, we have become his body.
Again this may sound too great for our skeptical hearts. But we can see this tremendous gift of God placed as seed in our own heart, respecting our human freedom. If we pray with the psalmist “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me,” God surely will hear our cry and give it resplendent growth. Through the action of His Spirit we will learn to know and love God by heart. We do so when, with the strength given by God’s grace, we learn to surrender our selfishness daily and choose to love God and others.
We need not be anxious or afraid. God has promised that it will come true. Moreover Jesus tells us “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33b)
Sr. Eva Janning, CPS