The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
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 words of today’s readings evoke so many wonderful thoughts and feelings! The prophet Jeremiah gives us God’s own promise of a new covenant, of a new way of living, of forgiveness and acceptance.
May our hearts respond to these words of the prophet! We can desire with the very depths of our being to know this God who loves us and who invites us to share His life so completely. As humans, we recognize that this invitation will touch our hearts more sometimes and less at other times. We humans are simply made that way! We can also pray, then, for a stability within us in our relationship with God.
In the Gospel, some Greeks come, hoping to see Jesus. In response, Jesus seems to pray so intensely that this is almost like His baptism or like the Transfiguration. A voice comes from heaven. The people around Him notice that something has changed, even if they are not sure exactly what has happened.
But the promise at the end of the Gospel is so strong and similar to the words of the prophet Jeremiah. Jesus says: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Even while we recognize that there is a possibility for some people to resist God’s love and mercy, these strong words of Jesus give us hope that everyone will be saved.
Lent is a good time to look at our hearts. Can we join with this hope that everyone will be saved? It is an interesting question! It is not a question of doctrine or a question about whether hell exists. It is a question about the greatness of our hearts. Jesus wants everyone to be saved. Jesus wants everyone to share His life. Can our own hearts be that big? Are there people that we really would rather not be saved? Are there people that we want to suffer? Perhaps too often the answer is “yes” to that question. Lent is a time for conversion and a time to renew our own participation in the salvation of the world.
We can join in prayer with words from the letter to the Hebrews: God, as Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, may we obey Him and may we encourage others to obey Him. May we desire that everyone will be saved and share in eternal life!