This coming weekend we will celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent, with Palm Sunday following a week later on April 1, 2012. Our scripture readings are: Jeremiah 31: 31-34, Hebrew 5: 7-9, and John 12: 20-33.
Jeremiah spoke of a new covenant that God was making with His people, since our ancestors had broken the old covenant. And this new covenant would be within the person.
“I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”
This is the God of our ancestors that is the God of Jesus. This is a God of mercy and loving kindness, never a God of wrath and vengeance, as we so often portray God.
Our Gospel, keeping with the fact that we are approaching Holy Week and the death of Jesus, speaks about a grain of wheat.
“Very truly, I tell you, 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.”
Jesus was speaking about himself and his impending violent death. It was a sad time for him. He says, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.”
The end was near and He knew He would be “lifted up from the earth (fastened to the cross by nails) and He would “draw all people to myself.”
What are we to make of all this? From this most violent death of Jesus we find a new way of living—a non-violent way of life that receives its power from our Baptism.
We are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus. We become like Him in all things, especially His loving concern and compassion for all.
How can we do this since all of us carry within ourselves the potential for hate and murder? It is only by the fact that we have been taken up into Christ and His Father that we can have any chance of living as peace-filled and joy-filled people.
We, Like Jesus, must be lifted up and experience the words spoken by God at the time of Jesus’ impending death: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Yes, the death of Jesus has become a thing of “glory” since it was the final act of violence that did not call for vengeance but absolute forgiveness of those who perpetrated his death.
And we must count ourselves among the murderers. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” We, the forgiven, are now commissioned to reach out to others with that same forgiveness.
Please come and join us On Palm Sunday, April 1, at 10:30 AM; and again on Holy Thursday (April 5th) at 7:00 PM, Good Friday at 7:00 PM and at the Easter Vigil at 8:00 PM. Easter Sunday we worship at 8:00 and 10:30 AM. Our address: 4051 N. 25th Street, in the heart of the city.