Lent 5 - March 17, 2024

It’s hard to believe that Holy Week is just around the corner, and so we hear Jesus in the Gospel talk about his fast approaching death.  Yet his message to his disciples is not so much about his death as it is about eternal life.

In our first reading from Jeremiah, he makes a bold statement that the centuries old covenant that God made with Abraham would be superseded by a new covenant.  The main difference between the old and new covenant is the new covenant would be internal.  We will not have to look up the answer or feel disconnected from God’s will.  With the law written upon our hearts, it becomes part of us.

In the Gospel, Jesus realized that he himself was approaching that time of his death, but he also wanted those he loved to know what he expected of them.  Therefore he said that anyone who is willing to sacrifice their life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  It all comes down to love.  Remember, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said it could be summed up in two great commandments: love of God, and love of neighbor.  So now, Jesus says “whoever loves his or her life will lose it.”  Our challenge is to love God and neighbor more than our own life.  Just as a grain of wheat loses its life when planted, and germinates and grows into a plant.  This is what Jesus envisions for us.  If we are willing to sacrifice our own self-interests, we can love others and produce much fruit in the garden of the Kingdom.  So where will I clear more space in my heart and my schedule for love of God and neighbor?

Love, Peace, Joy,

Fr. Bob


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