Gospel Reflection – 5th Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

The path of the Christian is, by nature, a tortuous one. Whilst God did not intend us to hate our life, we should always see it within the context of the life to come: eternal life. This is the life we aspire to.
What, exactly, is that life? Well, we learn by scripture and the traditions of the Church that we are called to be children of God, to live for eternity in the peace and the joy of heaven, where there will be no suffering, no hatred, no pain. Heaven is where we praise our Lord. In a real way, we are called to BECOME praise itself.
We can praise him, now, too, in this world. The praise and the devotion we give in this life is part of what we give him – and what he gives us – in the next life.
Yet, there is not perfection in this world. We are hampered by many sorrows, many hardships. And we shall all die. We are, as Jesus mentions, like the seed that must expire in order to bring new life. All of this dying, this suffering, this hardship, is part of that new life in Him, that world to come. What is difficult now eventually becomes an eternity of joy and peace.
Part of what hampers us is mercy. We all are in need of God’s mercy, yet it is something we struggle to bestow upon others, upon those who hurt us, even upon those whom we just don’t much like, or whom we are indifferent to. But, if we were to become more like Christ, we would give astounding levels of mercy to those around us, truly astounding.
We are called to astonish people with our love, with our forgiveness. It is difficult to do that. But Jesus didn’t advocate easy things: he asked difficult things of us. Yet, he believes in us completely.
As we come towards the end of Lent, looking forward as we do to the day of Resurrection, we ask for the grace to astonish people with mercy and love, just as Jesus astonishes us. We ask for the grace of his mercy upon us, and we give ourselves to him in love, knowing that our hardships now are all for the Kingdom of God. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
12:20 -30
Glory to you, O Lord
Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them:
‘Now the hour has come
for the Son of Man to be glorified.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
Now my soul is troubled.
What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name!’
A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.
People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’
Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.
‘Now sentence is being passed on this world;
now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I shall draw all men to myself.’
By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.