Thoughts for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

We see the transformation of the world beginning this week. God tells Jeremiah that, even though the people turn away from them time and again, he will call them to himself once more, for all time. The written Law is too easy to ignore; when you take a child by the hand, they will wriggle free after a time and go their own way.

Not this time. God promises a new law, he will write it on our very hearts, creating hearts for love, pure hearts, cleansed from our sin.

Interestingly, this is a rare mention of the God’s holy spirit in the Old Testament occurs in the psalm. The psalmist expresses our yearning for God’s help, for we are nothing without God. We yearn for him: it is written on our hearts.

St Paul outlines what Jesus did for us, reminding us that our Lenten journey is nearly at its end, when we will get to see Jesus submit so humbly to God that his prayer for the salvation of the world was heard.

In the Gospel, Jesus explains to us (because we’re a bit thick) what must happen and why. He is the seed of God planted in the Earth and the death he must die is a literal and brutal death.

I find it interesting that the church has chosen this exact starting point for the Gospel this week. We could easily start the reading with “Now the hour has come…”, but we don’t. We begin with some Greeks approaching one of the apostles asking to see Jesus. Between them, the apostles arrange for these foreigners to have access to Jesus. It is the role of the leaders among the church to bring people to Jesus, to facilitate that meeting, to welcome strangers and to bring them into relationship with the one who was lifted up.

Now that sentence is being passed on our world, with whom do we align? Do we stand with the prince of this world? Do we stand with him who is to be overthrown, or do we let go of the convenience of the life we have and move towards the life that God is giving us to lead, one that will bring us to his eternal kingdom?

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