Fr. Vincent Hawkswell
The name of Jesus is at the heart of all Christian prayer. Liturgical prayers end with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many Christians, like St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips.
We who know this name have a responsibility to share the good news with everyone else. “Although in ways known to himself” God can draw those who are ignorant of the Gospel, the Catechism says, nevertheless “the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
Fr. Austin Fleming
A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
Such beautiful words in Jeremiah this morning: “I will place my law within them, I will write it upon their hearts, says the Lord.” That’s definitely one of my Top 10 Favorite Verses from scripture and there’s no doubting it prompts some personal questions for each of us to ask ourselves. Questions like:
- Who gets to write on my heart?
- Who has written on my heart when I wasn’t looking?
- What’s been written on my heart that’s now faded away?
- What’s been written on my heart that I’ve tried very hard to erase?
- What’s been indelibly penned on my heart?
- What has the Lord written on my heart? (2015)
Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr
God invites us to tie a new relationship with him, based on his trust in us as adult Christians. Such new alliance opens us also to fecundity like that of a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies in order for new life to thrive. (2018)
Fr. Chama’s reflection is divided into the following sections:
- Experiences that we know well
- God wants Israel as adult
- From the letter of the law to the spirit of the law
- Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies
- Adult Christian is fecund
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
I would like to do something a bit different this week. Rather than develop a homily as such, I would like to lead you in a meditation upon one word, one concept which we find in today’s Gospel. Today we come upon the word hour. I want to dwell on this with you in a meditative spirit. First, to begin we need a little background. We just heard the phrase, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” The concept of the hour has a deep theological meaning in the entire Gospel of John. Actually I found nineteen times in that Gospel where Jesus uses the phrase, “The hour”… We Christians live in this moment, this hour. Whether we stood at the foot of the cross like Mary and John or whether we were born two thousand years later, the hour is real to us. We are there. We are always before the Lord on the cross. We kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass and pray to the Father with the Lord as he offers his Body and Blood for us. Every Mass renews the hour. (2021)
On the First Sunday of Lent, we heard of the very broad Noahic covenant that articulates God’s special relationship with all living creatures. As we near the end of Lent, today we hear of a more intimate covenant described in the Book of Jeremiah, the covenant written on the heart. The first reading reminds us of the personal nature of one’s relationship with God, an idea that is also echoed in today’s Gospel… As we enter the final weeks of Lent, today’s readings remind us to reflect intentionally on our relationship with God, calling for prayer, introspection and thanksgiving for God’s salvation. Jeremiah calls us to recognize God’s close connection and interest in all of us, and John inspires us to connect with God through the mystery of Christ’s resurrection. (2021)
Fr. George Smiga
BUILDING ON THE WORD
We expect continuity in our lives. We expect one day to flow into the other. But we all know that there are moments when our life takes a drastic and negative turn. Looking back, we can even remember the phone call or the remark that signaled that change. Now we find our self in a place we do not want to be, in a place of fear, doubt, and pain. Our life has changed to a difficult place. Somehow we have to get through it.
Jesus experiences such a change in today’s gospel. He knows that his mission is to draw all people to himself. So when some non-Jews, some Greeks, come asking for him, Jesus sees it as a sign that now is the time to fulfill his mission. The gospel of John calls that mission “Jesus’s hour.” The arrival of the Greeks indicates that now his hour has come. The hour is frightening, because it is the hour of his death. But the important thing of today’s gospel is that Jesus does not call his hour the hour of his death. He calls it the hour of God’s glory. That is because Jesus is convinced that in the sudden turn towards suffering that his life has just taken, his Father will never abandon him. In fact, he dares to believe that, just as a seed that dies produces much fruit, God is able to bring life out of Jesus’s passion. (2018)
Title of Fr. Smiga’s other homilies for this Sunday (located on the same page) are:
- A realistic disciple
- Life, death, and walnuts
- The danger of the cross
- Planting potatoes in the kingdom
- Facing the hour
Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ
SUNDAY WEB SITE
There are many things we take seriously about our worship—the setting, the music, the preaching—but I wonder if we take seriously enough its very ritual words and their meaning. The Eucharistic Prayer is incomprehensible, actually, if we think we are sinless. After all, it is the re-enactment of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
Our admission of sin is the occasion for singing the glories of God. It is the appreciation of how happy we are to be called to the supper. It is the acceptance of the new covenant, Christ’s passion and death embodied in our Eucharist. When we take Communion, we take the new law, the new covenant, literally into our bodies, our hearts. And the promise of Jeremiah is realized in the flesh: “I am yours and you are mine. I will remember your sin no more.” (Jer 30:34) It is as important to remember why Christ died for us as it is to remember that he did so. In fact, the paschal mystery, as well as the Eucharist, cannot make very much sense at all if we fail to understand how much we need both. “You have set us free, you are the Savior of the world.” (Memorial Acclamation) (1997)
Without the Cross it is impossible to imagine what good can come out of pain. But with the Cross everything falls into place. In short, pain can only have meaning when it is united with the passion and death of Jesus which led to His resurrection.
Our Christian faith shows us that if we want to dedicate ourselves totally to Christ, we have to make a firm commitment to follow Him no matter what the consequences. By dying to ourselves and our own petty selfishness and pride, we allow the grain of wheat that is our spiritual life to grow and give fruit.
Lent is a special time for mortification and asceticism. We can begin such practices by focusing on the windows of the soul. These are our five senses.
The way of Jesus goes beyond self-fulfilment. It is the way of self-transcendence. It is not about self-preoccupation. It is about self-donation. Jesus affirms the need for loving one’s self but it does not stop there. One has to love one’s neighbor as he loves himself, even to the point of giving up one’s life, “Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life” (Jn. 12:25). Self-discovery and self-affirmation are only preludes to self-donation.
The covenant which God offers the people will not be like the covenant which He made with earlier generations. There is no mention of repentance on the part of the people and yet God offers to place His law within them and write it upon their hearts. The people will no longer need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord since everyone shall know Him.
We have completed the Office of Readings from Ash Wednesday to today and the covenant God made with the people of Israel recorded in the Books of the Old Testament, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, all inspired by God in the writings of Moses. Today we move into the Scriptural Readings of the New Testament and Covenant beginning with the Book of Hebrews whose perspective rests in Jesus Christ.