March 21: Fifth Sunday of Lent. Readings: 1. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm: 51 or 17; 2. Hebrews 5:7-9; Gospel: John 12:20-33.
Our focus for this Sunday is keenly centred upon the story of salvation history. In particular, though, it is the work of God the Father and the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, that demands our attention.
In the verses from Jeremiah, we are reminded of the passage of time, and how God has desired to renew a bonded relationship with his people. It is, therefore, with hope that the prophet looks to a brighter future when a new covenant will be welcomed. That forward thinking foresees a people transformed and invigorated to rightly acknowledge how blessed is the close connection with the Almighty, who cares for us in a unique way.
The summary statement by the author of Hebrews captures that same sense of divine guardianship. Its main point of focus is Jesus as Son of God, and the perfect sacrifice offered for a universal purpose. The sacrifice of the cross is, therefore, presented to us as the great gift that liberates and ushers us all into a very special relationship with the Father and the Son.
The Lord’s death on the cross is also key to what John has written in today’s Gospel. Again, it is Jesus who, in union with the Father, expresses quite plainly what was needed to draw all people into the realm of the divine. This moment in the Jesus story defines the reality of the crucifixion and is a most vital indication of what lies at the heart of the Christian faith.
Through readings such as these, we are given a key insight into the will of God. Being invited into the mystery of Christ crucified, we hear how the Father and the Son call us into divine intimacy; a communion that sets us on a secure path towards the future decreed by God.