5th Sunday of the Year (b)
Season of Lent. (B)
Sunday 18th 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 19th March: Solemnity of St. Joseph.
The feast of St. Joseph did not become widespread until the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the first Mass in his honour being celebrated in Rome in 1505. The genealogy of St. Joseph is found in St. Matthew’s Gospel and in St. Luke’s. We also know form the Gospels that he was a carpenter and that it was very likely that Jesus learned the trade from him. Joseph and Mary were poor, as evidenced by the fact that, at Mary’s purification in the Temple, they offered a pair of turtledoves. The tribute paid to him in Scripture is that he was a just man. On several crucial occasions, such as Our Lady’s pregnancy, the flight into Egypt, the return to Palestine, Joseph was instructed by an angel. Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the universal Church.
Tuesday 20th 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 21st March: Wednesday in the fifth week of Lent.
Certain Jews refused to worship the statue made by Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the fiery furnace. They survived and demonstrated the great power of the God they believed in.
Jesus was very maddening for the Pharisees even although he is only with them a very short time. It is through him, however, that the fountains of living water what would bring redemption and new life would flow.
Thursday 22nd 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 23rd 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 24th 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.