5th Sunday of Lent

Lenten Journeys

5th Sunday of Lent

This Sunday, we reflect on today's readings with Sr. Rachel O'Riordan

18 March 2018

5th Sunday of Lent

This week we introduced you to Hassan-Ali, who has been accompanied by staff and volunteers at JRS UK through our weekly Day Centre.

Hassan-Ali came to the UK believing he would find safety and security. Instead, he was met with hostility and mistrust by the Home Office, who he felt were ignoring their responsibilities of care to those seeking asylum. Hassan-Ali was left without support and without hope.

During these difficult times, Hassan-Ali was able to draw on his faith and friendships to encourage him on his journey. Through relationships formed at the JRS Day Centre, Hassan-Ali came to see that many people were there for him, ready to walk alongside him on his journey, through even the darkest of moments.

Today as we reflect on the Sunday Mass readings with one of the JRS volunteers, we invite you to see how God’s presence draws us into the fullness of his love.

The fullness of Love and Eternal Life

Sr. Rachel O’Riordan, one of our volunteers, reflects on today’s readings. We invite you to join her in a space of prayer and reflection.

I will be their God, and they shall be my people
Jeremiah 31:31-34
What is the message today? It is simple, God remains faithful, even if we are not; it is a promise of hope found in the Book of Jeremiah. God’s Covenant with the Israelites which was forged on Sinai has been shattered but God continues to be faithful to a disobedient and willful people. Their iniquity is forgiven, and the New Covenant is to be planted and written on their hearts. We, in our day, are consoled by the certainty that it is in, and through Jesus, that God continues to forgive, calling us into right relationship with him and with one another.
‘”having been made perfect, he became for all those who obey him, the source of eternal salvation.”
Hebrews 5:7-9
The passage from Hebrews is a reminder that Christ who bore his cross courageously, was acclaimed by the Father with the title of a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek. On those occasions, when to believe and have faith seems impossible, it is in Christ’s obedience to the will of the Father that we are inspired and given new courage, helping us to press on in the face of trials, persecution, and doubts.

“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself.”

John 12:20-33
Unlike the strong Jesus of the 3rd Sunday of Lent, angered by the money changers and the desecration of the Temple, the Gospel today presents us with a Jesus who seems troubled and afraid. In this powerful foreshadowing of the Passion, the realization that the hour has come, and the beckoning inevitability of that painful journey reveals a spiritual struggle for Jesus; maybe it is a battle to better understand his destiny. Further on, the passage reveals that The Father makes his presence known, confirming the identity of Jesus, as the Word of God.
The parable of the grain of wheat dying in the earth in order to grow and bear a harvest can be seen also as a metaphor of Jesus’ own death and resurrection. It presents us with a clear challenge: if we are to be a follower of Christ, then we must die to self and take up our cross daily. In the closing verses of the Gospel we see that the generous Jesus finds his identity in the joy of giving All, so that, He may draw all humanity into the fullness of Love and Eternal Life.
If today, we do just one thing could we make these words from the hymn ‘Lord who throughout these forty days our own.  As you did hunger and did thirst, so teach us, gracious Lord, to die to self, and so to live by your most holy Word.’

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JRS UK are grateful to Hassan-Ali for sharing his story with us. Please do not reproduce without permission.


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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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