Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk                       

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B – March 21, 2021.

Readings: Jer. 31:31-34; Ps 50:3-4,12-15; Hebrews 5:7-9; Gospel – John 12:20-33.

Theme: Lifting Others Up!

Sunday Synopsis

In the first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah reveals that the Lord will make a Covenant with the House of Israel. In the second reading, St. Paul states that Christ “learnt to obey through suffering.” The gospel message invites us to change the situation of others by demonstrating love to them just likes Christ who said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.”

Introduction

Beloved in the Lord, as we approach the Paschal events, the Church urges to pay attention to details. Already, our readings point to the arrest and passion of the Lord. Our reflection hopes to find a nexus between being lifted up and lifting others towards our glorification in Christ Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.

Background and Summary of the Readings

In the first reading (Jer. 31:31-34), the Prophet Jeremiah discloses that the Lord would make a covenant with the House of Israel. Unlike the covenant of old which was broken, the Lord promised to make a new covenant “Deep within them” by writing his Law in their hearts. The reading states that based on the new covenant, God would forgive their iniquities. The text talks about obedience of faith through keeping the commandments of God written in their hearts.

The second reading (Heb. 5:7-9) states that Christ “learnt to obey through suffering.” It reveals how Jesus summed up “prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death.” It also stresses how Jesus “submitted so humbly that His prayer was heard.” As a result of this heroic obedience and humility, he became perfect for all who obey Him and the source of eternal salvation.

In the gospel (John 12:20-33.), Jesus says without equivocation: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.” The gospel tells how Jesus replied the Greeks, Galileans and indeed Philip and Andrew that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. He also maintained that “unless a wheat grain falls to the grown and dies, it remains a single grain but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.” He further noted that “anyone who loves his life loses it but he who hates his life in this world keeps it for the eternal life.” Jesus was talking about His impending death and subsequent glorification.

Pastoral Lessons

1. Ponder the Law of the Lord: We are challenged to always ponder the Law of God which is deeply written in our hearts by making effort to fulfil the demands of natural law, the Ten Commandments of God and the 6 Laws of the Catholic Church.

2. Reform, Repent:  The Season of Lent presents us with the opportunity to reflect on the fact that God gives us ample opportunity to reform so that our sins would be forgiven bearing in mind that He does not recall our iniquity or transgression.

3. Take to Obedience Faith: In a world where preaching about Christianity-of-the-Cross is unpopular, we are charged to connect our trials, temptations and tribulations with the obedience of faith demonstrated by Christ who “learnt to obey through suffering.”

4. Emulate Jesus Humility: As imitators of Christ, we are called upon to emulate Jesus’ humility by imbibing the virtues of “prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who has the power to save us out of danger and death.”

5. Lift the Unloved, Others Up:  By lifting all people to Himself, Jesus teaches us how to lift others especially the unloved, the lonely, the aged and all vulnerable people in our country by restoring their dignity and also giving them a chance to live their lives to the full.

6. Resist Directing Others to Self: Clerics are charged to resist the temptation of directing followers to themselves by doing the needful namely, directing their flock to Christ the leader of our faith.

Summary Lines

1. In the first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah discloses that the Lord would make a covenant with the House of Israel.

2. The second reading states that Christ “learnt to obey through suffering.”

3. It reveals how Jesus summed up “prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death.”

4. In the gospel, Jesus says without equivocation: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.”

5. Jesus was talking about His impending death and subsequent glorification.

Conclusion

As we approach Palm Sunday, we are urged to deeply reflect on the events that will unfold in the coming weeks – the events that reveal the depth of love Christ showed us by his life and ministry. In a country where life is increasingly difficult for the citizenry due to the Coronavirus pandemic, commercial kidnapping, armed banditry and economic crunch, we urge those who are up in terms of material wealth to help in lifting the poor by putting food on their table.

Of what importance is our fasting if it does not put smiles on the faces of fellow country men and women who are abjectly poor? May God grant us the grace to say like Jesus: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.” Have a Blessed Week!

 

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