Dear Cathedral Family,
On this fifth Sunday in Lent, as we draw nearer to Jesus’ Passion, we will hear Jesus speak in our gospel lesson about his sacrifice. His message to the Greeks who come as visitors to Passover and “wish to see Jesus,” is this: a grain of wheat must fall into the earth and die in order to become the fruit that ultimately feeds the world.
Jesus goes on to express his awareness of the suffering this sacrifice entails. Echoing the words he will later pray in Gethsemane, Jesus reveals the “trouble” in his soul, the temptation to ask the Father to release him, and the courage and faith that will see him through his ordeal. That courage and faith see through his death to the benefit of the whole world: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Certainly, Jesus’ courage and faith in the face of suffering and sacrifice come to him from the Father. It is also true that Jesus in his earthly life had the gift of parents who possessed courage and faith of their own, serving as earthly examples of how to live a life of sacrificial service. Joseph, whose feast day is observed this Friday, March 19, was a man who set aside his own will and cultural conditioning in order to do the will of God. Mary, in the Annunciation that will be celebrated next week on Thursday, March 25, overcame her own fear and weakness in order to be the faithful servant of the Lord.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to follow in his way. That is the message he gives to the Greeks who wish to see him: my followers must sacrifice themselves for my service and the service of the world. How are you, how are we, being called to follow Jesus’ way of self-sacrifice, of courage and faith, as we move through the final days of Lent toward the resurrection?
May you know God’s peace,