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.
We come closer and closer to Holy Week and to the Sacred Triduum—those last three days of Holy Week which express the fullness of our faith in such a striking way. The readings given to us today look forward to those three days.
The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us of God’s love for us: I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. This is a God who always forgives us, even as He invites us to return to the right path and to do what is right and just. This God is not an uncaring God, but a God who reaches out to us over and over. This is not a condemning God, but a God who invites to live in grace, joy and love.
The Letter to the Hebrews deepens this sense of the Father’s love for us in Christ Jesus: Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered. This is a God who loves us so much that He gives us His own Son, who takes on our humanity so that we can share in the divinity of God Himself.
It is clear from the Scriptures that our Lord Jesus prayed to be freed from the terrible sufferings that He could see coming to Him. His prayer was always: not My will but Your will be done.
The Gospel of John which we have heard today has the same theology of Christ’s suffering. 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.
The only way forward is to go through the suffering. Jesus willingly takes on the suffering for us–because He loves us. Jesus sees that the only way forward is through His death, for us. Jesus recognizes that, no matter how difficult, He came into the world to save us.
I will draw everyone to myself! What wonderful words of strength and consolation for us who believe in Him. Even as we prepare for Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum, when we celebrate once more the death of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, we can give praise to God. Just as Jesus was born for us, so also He dies for us—so that we might have life abundantly.
We do not always see everything in the light of this mystery. We are invited to meditate and pray so that we can come to see all things in the light of the mystery of Jesus Christ. May these final days of Lent draw us more deeply into the mystery.