1st Reading: Jer.31:31-34
Responsorial Psalm: Ps.51 (R.v.10) A pure heart create for me, O God.
2nd Reading: Heb.5:7-9
Gospel Acclamation! Jn.12:26
Glory & praise to you…!
If a man serves me, says the Lord, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. Glory & praise to you….!
Gospel Reading: Jn.12:20-30
Theme: *Death is the way to life!*
Jeremiah prophesied the making of a new covenant by God with the houses of Israel & Judah; very different with the one He made with their ancestors when He brought them out of Egypt. They broke the covenant.
The law which He would plant in their hearts would be self explanatory; each needing no external help. They would know the Lord since He would forgive all their iniquities & never call their sins to mind.
With the help of Philip & Andrew, Greek worshippers during the Jewish festival were brought to Jesus. Jesus told them the hour for the glorification of the Son of Man had come.
A wheat would only yield a rich harvest when it had died else it remained a single grain. Love for life would end in lost & hate for it would end in safekeeping for eternal life.
His servants must follow Him & His position would be theirs too. With a troubled soul, Jesus called on His Father to save Him from that hour. Noting that He actually came for that hour, He called on His Father to glorify His name.
A voice came giving a double assurance. While some of His adherents heard it as a clap of thunder, others said an angel was speaking to Him. But Jesus told them that the voice came for their sake.
Dear faithful of God, our calling as Christians has made us good investors in life. Our life attains its full only in the suffering & death of Christ who came to do the will of His Father.
To deepen the knowledge of Him, God enacted a new covenant with His people written no more on tablets of stone but in their hearts in the 1st Reading & to illuminate the way to newness of life, Jesus affirmed the necessary death of a wheat before yielding its grains in the Gospel.
The supreme desire of any devout Christian is to reach the joy of heaven in the midst of the beatific vision. There is this urge that pushes us making us to use everything we have be it spiritual or material to actualize this ultimate end.
However, this noble aspiration can only come with our conformity & docility to will of God encapsulated in His commandments. The difficulty involved in the keeping of these commandments is like a journey through the shadows of death that would culminate into newness of life.
At this very time in this period of lent when Jesus draws closer to His suffering, passion & death, the Church invites us to reflect profoundly on the mystery of the cross that gave us new life in Christ.
Simply put, we can only live by dying! While not excluding the possibility of physical death in Christian witnessing (for witnessing during the early Christian era was basically death), the way to life is primarily offering of sacrifices; sacrifices that cost us much!
In practical terms, we die every day when 1️⃣we stand up for justice in the midst of oppositions, 2️⃣when we stand for the truth in the midst of threats and 3️⃣when we say no to sin, corruption and immorality even as concupiscence beckons.
And since true life comes only after decadence. 1️⃣There can never be reaping without sowing, 2️⃣no success without hard work, 3️⃣no achievement without commitment, 4️⃣no freedom without struggle & 5️⃣no life without sacrifice! Something must die before a new life is born.
Therefore, let us see the daily challenges we encounter in our Christian witnessing as a way of dying in order to attain eternal life. Nigeria can live again if we bury enslavement mentality, hegemony, religious bigotry, selfishness, personal interests & money bag politics.
The Christian religion will survive all assaults if we bury irrational quest for material wealth, syncretism, impiety & division. Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap. They go out full of tears carrying seed for the sowing, & they come back full of joy carrying their sheaves (Ps.126:5-6).
Let us pray: Ever-Loving God, in love you sacrificed your Son for our salvation. May we learn from you by burying those things that militate against our living of virtuous life. Amen!
We pray for a renewal of Christian commitment in the service of God. May all Christians realize that it is by dying to sin that eternal life is born. Amen!