5th Sunday of Lent (b)
Season of Lent. (B)
Sunday 22nd March: Fifth Sunday of Lent. (B)
It is not reasonable to look for pain and suffering yet we know that in life there are certain pains we have to endure. A woman has to pass through birth pains to bring a child into the world, parents sacrifice themselves for their children, often with no thanks, nurses and doctors dedicate themselves to alleviating the pain of others. The seed has to die to give life to new plants. Today Jesus invites us to follow him in accepting the pain, the suffering and the effort needed to carry out our mission, our vocation in life.
In the first reading, from the Prophet Jeremiah, at a time when the people have turned from God and his ways, God promises a new covenant, a new union of life and love of God with his people. By dying in the ground, the grain of wheat gives a rich harvest. St. John reminds that, by dying on the cross, Jesus gives us the opportunity of eternal life. The disciples of Jesus must risk their lives for others.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, we hear how Jesus was afraid of suffering and death yet he accepted it out of loyalty to the Father and out of love for us. By his death, he brought us life.
Monday 23rd March: Monday in the fifth week of Lent.
We have the famous story from the Book of Daniel, of how the wickedness of the two old men was exposed. Through simple wisdom, Daniel was able to save Susanna who had refused to compromise her virtue.
In the Gospel, Jesus is confronted with the woman who had committed adultery. Although he condemns the sin, he ensures that the sinner is not judged but pardoned.
Tuesday 24th March: Tuesday in the fifth week of Lent.
We are again reminded of what the crucifixion will do for us. Those who looked on the bronze serpent on its standard in the Old Testament story were saved from poison. Therefore, those who look on Jesus, who will be lifted up, will be saved. That is why we should use the sign of the cross with respect and reflection.
Wednesday 25th March: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
This is the feast that reminds us of the good news announced to Our Lady that she would become the mother of Jesus. Jesus is announced. He is the one who will come to do God’s will by being with us and saving us. It is also obviously Our Lady’s feast as well. Like Jesus, she shows her willingness to serve God and his people. ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord.’ May these be our words also.
Thursday 26th March: Thursday in the fifth week of Lent.
Our communion with God, our salvation, depends on faith. Like Abraham, we have to trust the word of God. His faith changed not only his own life but also the lives of his people.
Now God speaks to us in his Word – Jesus Christ. If we believe in him, we become part of the new people of the new covenant through Baptism, with the promise of eternal life given to us.
Friday 27th March: Friday in the fifth week of Lent.
The people want to bring the prophet down. He takes his strength from knowing the Lord God is on his side.
Jesus is being threatened by stone throwing Jews. He reminds them he is not blaspheming but only doing the work of his Father. This makes the Jews even angrier.
Saturday 28th March: Saturday in the fifth week of Lent.
At a time of great suffering as a result of the exile, Ezekiel preaches the great vision of hope for the people. Israel will be gathered together again as one nation, in one land, ruled by one shepherd.
After the resurrection of Lazarus, the high priests and leaders decide they can no longer cope with Jesus and the decision is taken that he must die.
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness
Give us Your presence,
Your love and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power
So that nothing may frighten or worry us
For, living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.