Readings and Reflection for Sunday March 21, Fifth Sunday of Lent


FIRST READING                                                                                                
“I will make a new covenant,…and I will remember their sin no more.”
A reading from the Book Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

“Behold, The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land Egypt, my covenant which they broke, and I showed myself their Master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm51:3-4.12-13.14-15(R. 12b)
R/. Create a pure heart for me, O God.

Have mercy on me, O God,
According to your merciful love;
According to your great compassion,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me completely from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin. R.

Create a pure heart for me, O God;
Renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence;
Take not your holy spirit from me. R.

Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
Sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
That sinners may return to you. R.

“He learnt obedience, and he became the source of eternal salvation.”
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:7-9)

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learnt obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

The word of the Lord.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. If any one serves me, he must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there shall my servant be also. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

“If a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it bears much fruit.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 12:20-33)

At that time: Among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them. “The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly. I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the father will honour him. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowed standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Other said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die.         

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflation:

As we drew closer to Holy Week, we recall God’s promise to make a new covenant with us in which His law shall be no longer written on stone, but inscribed in our hearts.  Christ is the new covenant who creates pure hearts for us and gives us steadfast spirits. We are reminded that we have to give up our old ways of life in order to gain life in this new covenant.  A grain has to be buried in the ground in order to become a rich harvest.  Let us not forget the words of Christ, “If anyone serves Me, My Father will honour him” (John 12:26). Who are we to disrespect the ones whom God Himself has honoured by their service to Him?  Among those who have served Christ and Mary, the mother of Christ, and the saints.


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