Sunday Gospel reflection: Live as people of the covenant

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Photo: Zwiebackesser/Shutterstock

Some years ago, traveling in Guatemala, I was asked by the Sisters of St. Joseph to take some young people on an outing. Piling as many as could fit into an old Volkswagen Beetle, we had a wonderful afternoon. When the heat and humidity became unbearable, I tried to buy the gang some soda pop from a local stand. “Careful,” said the Sister with us. “Perhaps it’s better that we all share. Most of these kids have never tried soda pop, let alone had an entire bottle to themselves.”

The poor don’t need soda pop, any more than the rich do. But whether we’re talking of kids who’ve never had a dime to spend, or kids who can’t live without the latest cell phone, God established a covenant with us all. Jesus lived out that covenant through his own death on the cross, so as to reveal the God of life to everyone.

What do we have to “die to” in ourselves, in order to become followers of Jesus and to “be life” for others? How can this grain of wheat that John’s Gospel describes bear much fruit through our own lives?

Being attentive to the needs of the poor is important and necessary, but hard to do on our own. We need our Christian communities to help challenge us to give, and to live, as people of the covenant.

— Joseph Gunn

Jeremiah 31:31–34
Psalm 51:3–4, 12–13, 14–15
Hebrews 5:7–9
John 12:20–33

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