Fifth Sunday of Lent

Reflection on the Gospel reading for the
5th Sunday of Lent

Gospel of John chapter 12 20-33

                The notion of dying to oneself sounds very romantic. It conjures up images of great trials that we heroically overcome and then present ourselves to God for our reward. The reality though is very painful. St. Therese of Lisieux spoke of a martyrdom of pinpricks. A pinprick won’t cause major injury but to be pricked over and over again can test the endurance of even the strongest among us.

                Most of us will not be called to red martyrdom but we are all called to another kind of death. Each day God calls us to die to ourselves a little more so He can work in us. It’s the small things, the pinpricks that can be so hard to endure that God uses to train us in His ways, so when the big sacrifices come it will be easier to persevere.

                In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies it cannot bear fruit. If we stay in our comfortable, hard shell of life where nothing bothers us we are not living the Christian life but if we step out of it and take a risk on God He will help us bear fruit. In the Gospel Jesus says that the time of His glorification has come but it troubles Him. It’s strange to think of Jesus being anything other than serene and peaceful isn’t it? But He is determined to be obedient to the Father no matter the cost. He knows that it is through suffering and death that He will pay for our sins and thus be glorified.   

                In His suffering and death Jesus is giving us an example of how to live the Christian life. He calls us not to comfort but to follow Him in laying down our lives. For most of us this will mean giving up ourselves in little ways, with the occasion whooper to deal with that comes to all. A cross of wood is made up of a thousand splinters. Every day He will show us to die a little more to ourselves if we let Him.

                It’s quite scary isn’t it? The thought of staying in, binge watching TV shows or surfing the internet sounds much more comfortable. But look at what He promises to those who follow Him, life eternal. In His crucifixion He draws all of us to Himself. Each day we are called to choose whether to serve Him by laying down our lives or not.