5th Sunday of Lent – Dying and Rising with Christ

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Dying and Rising with Christ (John 12:20-30)

 

At the wedding feast in Cana the mother of Jesus asked him to do something about the embarrassing shortage of wine, but he replied “My hour has not come yet.”

 

In today’s Gospel some Greeks have expressed their desire to speak with Jesus. This indicates that the mission of Jesus is about to extend beyond the Jews to the whole world. So, Jesus says, “Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” The hour will be a time of dying and rising.

 

One of the most significant books in my life was St. Columba Marmion’s Christ the Life of the Soul. He highlighted how St. Paul explained that water at baptism by immersion signified dying and rising with Christ. And this rhythm of dying and rising is the pattern of being a follower of Christ. Marmion opened up for me a spirituality based on Scripture and the Liturgical Year. “You must see yourselves as dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:11).

 

One of the attractions of the gospel is the way Jesus taught in simple, everyday stories or parables. A wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, but the minerals of the earth, aided by solar power, causes it to germinate. Eventually it will yield a rich harvest provided nothing harmful has terminated growth. What will choke the growth of Christian life will be any form of selfishness … “anyone who loves his life loses it.” What is meant here is the self-love which chokes respect for others, generosity, thoughtfulness, service, forgiveness etc. Instead of good growth, the evils of hatred, violence, injustice and immorality will flourish. Entering the water of baptism signifies dying to sinfulness. “You have been buried with Christ by your baptism; by which, too, you have been raised up from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). Jesus Christ came to be our servant. “If anybody serves me, let them follow me – and where I am, there also will my servant be.”

 

The hour has come

 

The Gospel moves on to the hour when the Passion begins. “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.” This is the only reference in John’s Gospel to the Agony in the Garden. Unlike the other evangelists, John underplays the suffering of Jesus. Instead of the Passion of Jesus, John gives us the Passing of Jesus. “I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world to go to the Father” (John 16:28.)

 

The death of Jesus should always be seen in conjunction with his resurrection.

 

“Now the prince of this world (Satan) is to be overthrown. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.”

 

The word DRAW can help us to remember what Jesus has done for us. The mystery of faith is that Christ Died, Rose, Ascended and Will come again.

 

In our Lenten Reflections I have spoken of Lent being a preparation for the renewal of our baptismal commitment at Easter. We will be invited to reject Satan and his lies before renewing our commitment to following the way of Jesus.

 

Christian life is a constant sharing in the pattern of dying and rising with Christ.

 

 

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