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 would like to see Jesus! These Greeks in the Gospel from Saint John today know that something is happening. They want to see this man who is causing such a stir. We don’t know their motives but we cannot presume that they had bad motivation. We also would like to see Jesus at times.
Jesus tells us clearly: Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. This gives us pause in our following of Jesus because quite often we don’t want to give up our life. Yet for this Sunday of Lent, the message is about dying to our present self and allowing the New Covenant to possess us entirely.
The Prophet Jeremiah is the first of our readings today. He tells us of God’s desire for us and God’s will that we be transformed. Jeremiah is very clear that this transformation will be the work of God. It is not something that we can accomplish by our own strength and will. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. This New Covenant will come about with the forgiveness of our sins. God Himself promises to forget our sins.
The Letter to the Hebrews, the second reading today, speaks of the role of Jesus in our salvation. It is not just God who saves us, it is God now revealed as Trinity, God revealed as compassion and love, God who takes on our humanity and suffers with us—it is this God we come to know in Jesus: 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.
So we return to the Gospel of John. Do we really want to see Jesus? Do we just want to observe Him or do we want to see Him as He is? Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The only way to see Jesus as He is, is to serve Him so that we can truly know Him. We want to see and know the heart of our Lord and that is only possible by this complete service. This Gospel passage is one of very few when the Father’s voice is heard by the crowd. We are not sure what hearing the voice of the Father meant to them, but for sure there was something strange and from another world happening and people were aware of it. For us, there may at times be similar experiences, although perhaps not as striking. Walking in faith allows us to see and to experience the world in a different way.
This Lent is the time for our conversion. This Lent is the time to live more fully the New Covenant in the blood of Christ. God forgives us and forgets our sins. Let us rejoice in the Lord.