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Fifth Sunday of Lent: Jer. 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:7-9, John 12:20-33

Sharon Norton, Associate

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sharon Norton, Associate, gathered the thoughtful ideas of the Staten Island, NY Associates and Sisters on this Sunday’s readings (Jer. 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:7-9, John 12:20-33) for this reflection. 

This past Wednesday evening, the SI Sisters and Associates considered the Fifth Sunday’s readings and Gospel and offer you some of our thoughts. 

Jeremiah gives, what one of our sisters has called, a “foreshadowing of Jesus” as he describes how the first covenant birthed the second.

The first covenant was one that could realistically be expected between a first generation chosen people and a strong and protective God.  God took charge and rescued them from unspeakable dangers, asking only, in exchange, that they follow the rules.   Like some ungrateful children that we have been or that we have known, these first born, once out of the desert, failed to keep their part of the bargain.  And then God had “to show [himself] their Master”– not pleasant for either of them; and not something they were likely to forget!

So, the Creator restructured a second deal for the next generation.  No longer would there be a booming voice from the sky carving rules in stone.  Now the Voice would come from within – a quieter, more personal God – a one on one message – for those of us in the New Testament, Jesus for each of us, so that we and all we touch would know the love of God.

And remember that awful mistake you once made that your parents never let you forget?  Not this Creator – in the second covenant, God promises to forgive and FORGET, like it never happened, again and again and again…

Quite a bargain!

The second reading is a poignant sequitur.

The second covenant is now operational.  Jesus has come and grown into a man, and not a perfect one, as it turns out.  It seems that he would rather forego the temporal suffering that obedience to his Father inevitably will bring and so he cries out for a reprieve.  Hmmmm…. shades of Israel/Judah, Part I.  Well no, as another of our Sisters points out, Jesus never turned from his Father, but stayed in dialogue with him and so resolved to stay open to the covenant.

It was Jesus’ continued openness to the covenant that led to his perfection and our salvation, should we choose to do the same.   The second promise is a plain ol’ love story.

And finally, the Gospel according to the mystical John.  You are on your own there for strict interpretation, except to say that we noticed many of the same themes from the other readings appear – a reluctance to obedience, reluctance to suffer, a short-sighted view of salvation – a resistance to the covenant.  And yet the offer remains open.

Love to you all from Sisters Anne, Margaret and Mary Jane; and Associates Ellen, Magdalena, Janice, Evette, Arcadia, Sebastiana, Voldamero, and Sharon.  


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