Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings: Jer 31: 31-34 / Ps 51: 3-4, 12-15 / Heb 5: 7-9 / Jn 12: 20-33

In Campus Currents or the Student Wire you read “Come See Jesus Today in the Connelly Center Cinema at 4:00 PM.” Would you go? Why?

Some might go hoping to see a show? Remember he’s the one who changed water into wine. Maybe someone would finally get what he or she deserves! Jesus did, after all, chase those moneychangers out of the Temple. And what if under every seat there was a free ticket to the Promised Land? Others might be motivated by their “restless hearts,” longing for an intimate encounter with the Bread of Life, the Light of the World.

No matter what our motivation, it might be difficult to walk through the doors and many, no doubt, would pass up the chance.

We can only imagine what the Greeks in today’s Gospel were hoping to see and hear, as they asked to see Jesus. What they did hear was bad news and good. Christ foreshadows his passion and death, as foretold in Jeremiah and Hebrews, but the good news is that there is a purpose — much fruit will be produced and believers will be drawn unto Himself.

And what of the second message? “Whoever loves his life loses it. Whoever hates his life will preserve it? Whoever serves me must follow me.”    

Augustine suggests that it is “man’s love for his own life that leads to its destruction.” The remedy:

“seek not his own things, but the things that are of Christ … to walk even as He has walked … doing not only those acts of mercy that pertain to the body, but every good work, for the sake of Christ … even to that work of special love, … to lay down one’s life for the brethren, for that [is] to lay it down also for Christ.” [1]

Augustine contends that those who have come, seen and heard, are no longer “permitted merely to admire, but [are] commanded to imitate.” And he offers:

“[L]et the man who would follow learn by the road he must travel. … Set the will of God before your own, for He has taught you what to think of, what to say, on whom to call, in whom to hope and whose will, as sure and divine, to prefer to your own” [2] -  through the road, the life of Christ, Jesus.

As Holy Week approaches, let us pray for the courage to choose the road and embrace our journey.

Chris Janosik
Mission and Ministry

[1] Augustine, Tractate 51
[2] Augustine, Tractate 52