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Bulletin: March 21, 2021

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

The prophet Jeremiah, in today’s first reading, is looking beyond the often-messy history of Israel and Judah to a time when the people will no longer be disobedient to God, because God’s law will be “written on their hearts”—that is, their natural inclinations and desires will be oriented toward God’s will. The psalmist gives voice to the sorrow that Israel and Judah experienced in their separation from God “Have mercy on me, O God . . . A clean heart create for me.” According to Saint Paul, the earthly Jesus, “son though he was,” like his ethnic ancestors, he “learned obedience from what he suffered.” The Gospel reading is part of Jesus’ discourses not long before the Last Supper. Instead of a social encounter with Philip’s friends who had come to see him, Jesus is grappling with his approaching death and its ultimate meaning for the world.


The readings today remind us how close we are to Easter—only two weeks from now. They also remind us that the path to resurrection and Easter always includes suffering and death. The prophet Jeremiah spent his whole life proclaiming the word of God to kings who would not listen. As an old man, he saw Jerusalem defeated and the inhabitants taken into exile. Jeremiah himself suffered in being left behind, but in today’s reading, he is looking beyond those sufferings to a time when the previously disobedient people would be transformed and live in harmony with God’s law.