Catholic homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year B
Theme: NEW COVENANT BY HIS BLOOD
By: FR BONIFACE Ogonna
Homily for Sunday March 21 2021
1st Reading . Jer. 31:31-34
Resp. Ps.51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
2nd Reading. Heb.5:7-9
Gospel. Jn. 12:20-33.
We are drawing closer to our destination and the most important moments in our journey this season. This fact is reflected in all the readings of this Sunday. Christ is ready to offer everything for our salvation. So, we must also be willing to offer all for him and others.
In the first reading of this Sunday, God’s continuous presence is still with us. It also reminds us of the new thing that God is about to do in our midst: “I will make a new covenant and never call their sin to mind…then, I will be their God, and they will be my people.” God is ready to set aside a relationship that was destroyed by infidelity. He wishes to restore a broken relationship.
Therefore, we must be ready to accept this new covenant with God. This new covenant offers us salvation and life. So, as we continue our walk this Lent, let us know that God is willing to fulfill his promise, and nothing can stop him. All he demands from us is to be ready to accept this new covenant made in Christ Jesus.
The second reading of this Sunday reminds us of the Gethsemane experience of Jesus. It reminds us of the great sacrifice of Christ. First, this was to fulfill the promise of his father. Second, it was to save us. “He learned to obey through suffering…he became for all who obey him the source of eternal life.”
Christ is willing to pay this price this season to get us going in life. He will achieve it through his prayer and suffering for humanity. He will do all these in humility and obedience, which are essential virtues we need to excel in life. Without these, Christ would not be able to achieve the new covenant for our salvation.
Today, as we see Christ carrying out his priestly and intercessory role, we must find new courage to press on amid trials, persecution, and even doubts. Also, we must learn from His experience that suffering is necessary and inevitable in life. This is because, just like Christ, we will be made perfect through it.
In the gospel, Christ himself tells us: “Now the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified.” What glory is there in suffering? He is about to be arrested, punished, and killed, yet he talks about his glory. Jesus saw beyond the clouds of pains and difficulties to behold success and eternal life.
He knew that his suffering and death would restore life to many. So, he was not discouraged by the temporary situation of suffering. Instead, he was encouraged and motivated by the honest reward of eternal life. Hence, Christ offered his sorrow and life to restore a broken covenant and eternal life for all who believe in him. Thus, he says: “Unless a grain of wheat dies, it remains a single grain, but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.”
Unfortunately, many of us do not want to follow or like this path. Jesus invites us to be strong along the way of life. He wants us to be where he is. So, we must be ready to endure as he did. We must be prepared to die as a grain dies to regenerate. Practically speaking, we “die” every day when we stand up for justices, when we stand for the truth and when we say no to sin, corruption, and immorality.
These “daily deaths” exhaust us physically, but they strengthen us spiritually. Therefore, as we continue our walk with Christ this season, the thought of his suffering and death must strengthen us daily. Also, we must continually remind ourselves that it is honorable to suffer for Christ and others.
Wishing you blessed Sunday
FR BONIFACE Ogonna