March 22 - Fifth Sunday in Lent: Dying to oneself

March 18th, 2015


First Reading  Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jeremiah tells the people that the Lord will make a new covenant with them, planting the law within their hearts.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,14-15
A prayer for God's mercy and forgiveness

Second Reading  Hebrews 5:7-9
Through his sufferings, Jesus gained salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel Reading
John 12:20-33

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies, it cannot bear fruit. Or to put it another way, unless we die to our own will, we cannot bear fruit for God. It is a paradox and a bitter one. The paradox of life through death would not puzzle us so much if we were to look at the nature and human growth. Our highest life dos not consist in self-expression but in self-sacrifice. It is not we take up but what we give up that makes us and others rich. Dying to self would often mean, sacrificing one’s self-will,  for the sake of God’s will, which is his law, “placed within us and written upon our hearts” (Jer 31:33). Dying to self often means sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others. Only by dying to our self-seeking and vain ambitions, can we bring life to others, spreading joy and inspiring hope. If one has found nothing worth dying for, then probably found nothing worth living for. Let us pray: “Lord Jesus help us imitate the wheat and the grapes and offer our lives to you for whatever use you wish to make of them”. 

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