Fr Vincent's reflections on the 5th Sunday of Lent 2021

On the final Sunday of Lent before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, Jesus warns his disciples -- and us -- that living the Gospel requires sacrificing His life for the forgiveness of sin.  It also means that you and I must make a choice: to live for ourselves here and now, and lose Heaven; or to die to ourselves, surrendering our lives as did Jesus, so we can inherit eternal life.  I think we all know what we should choose, but the real question is:  How am I living that choice now?

 

Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 5th Sunday of Lent 2021

 

Read the text:

 

                                                                Fifth Sunday of Lent                      (Mar. 21, 2021)

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.      R/.  Amen.

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.            R/.  And with your spirit.

 

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, let us pray:

 

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.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.                                                                          R/.  Amen.

 

 

Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.

The Gospel today is John 12:20-33.

 

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

 

      Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast

             came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,

             and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

      Philip went and told Andrew;

             then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

      Jesus answered them,

             “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

      Amen, amen, I say to you,

             unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,

             it remains just a grain of wheat;

             but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

      Whoever loves his life loses it,

             and whoever hates his life in this world

             will preserve it for eternal life.

      Whoever serves me must follow me,

             and where I am, there also will my servant be.

      The Father will honor whoever serves me.

 

      “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?

      ‘Father, save me from this hour’?

      But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.

      Father, glorify your name.”

 

      Then a voice came from heaven,

             “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”

      The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;

             but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

      Jesus answered and said,

             “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.

      Now is the time of judgment on this world;

             now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

      And when I am lifted up from the earth,

             I will draw everyone to myself.”

      He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

 

The Gospel of the Lord.                                                                        R/.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Once more, just before Palm Sunday itself and Holy Week, Jesus warns his disciples, and us, of his need to die to set us free from sin.  Sadly, even the disciples who had followed and listened to Jesus for three years, could not understand what Jesus meant, so the warning did not sink in.  They were left totally unprepared for his arrest and crucifixion.

Now, for you and me, we have often heard the words of Jesus; they are repeated for us year after year.  And we know that his death will be followed by the Resurrection.  Yet, sadly, even for us, we can take Jesus’ warning for granted.  So we can enter this time equally unprepared.

Jesus is not speaking only about his death, but about ours as well.  And this is not merely about our physical death, but more importantly about whether or not we will live spiritually with him in Heaven.  Jesus warns us of the need to “die” to everything of this world so that he, Christ, becomes truly all important to us.

The words of the Gospel – “The hour has come,” and “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” – remind us that we cannot take Jesus’ words for granted.  We need to make the decision, either continue on an earthly path, or to surrender our lives to God as did Jesus.  There will be no resurrection for us if we try to keep this life here just as it is.

Jesus is ready.  But, are we?  God makes His presence known in His response to Jesus, so that we will have the courage to follow Jesus’ example.  As Jesus himself says, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.”  Our Opening Prayer for today’s Mass helps us to focus on this choice we must make, and asks for God’s help that we make the right decision:          

             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.

The bottom line is our choice of life or death!  To choose keeping this life now means losing eternal life with Jesus.  To die to ourselves now means to live forever in the glory of Heaven.  What is your choice, and will you live that way each and every day of your life?

God bless!

 

Final Blessing:

             The Lord be with you.                                                              R/.  And with your spirit.

 

             Bow down for the blessing.

 

                   Bless, O Lord, your people

                   who long for the gift of your mercy,

                   and grant that what, at your prompting, they desire

                   they may receive by your generous gift.

                   Through Christ our Lord.                                                  R/.  Amen.

 

             And may the blessing of almighty God,

             the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

             come down on you and remain with you for ever.                R/.  Amen.