It is difficult to believe that it is already the Fifth Sunday of Lent. How is your Lenten Journey going? Have you had the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Penance? If not, there is one more opportunity within our vicariate to celebrate Communal Penance. It is this Sunday (today) at 2:30 PM at the Cathedral. Please consider participating in some of the other ongoing Lenten activities and prayer this week, including Stations.
This weekend we welcome Father Bert Gohm who is covering for Father Jim while he is in Philadelphia conducting a parish mission. Father Bert is a senior priest whose last assignment was pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Bay City. He and I team teach Sacramental theology to the Second Year students in the Lay Ministry Formation program. Father Bert has been here a couple of times on the weekend, so you should recognize him. He is a great Presider and preacher. Thank you, Father Bert for being with us this weekend.
In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, Jesus predicts his passion, death, and resurrection. He uses the image of the grain of wheat. He says: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” I would like to share a few words from a commentary on today’s Gospel by Patricia Datchuck Sanchez. She writes:
“Any farmer who heard Jesus speaking about the grain of wheat falling to the earth and dying knew from experience that those words were true. But in so many instances in the fourth Gospel, the Johannine Jesus was communicating on an entirely different level. The grain, the dying and the fruitful harvest of which Jesus spoke were not merely agricultural phenomena but were vital aspects of his own soteriological mission for the world. In today’s gospel periscope, Jesus makes it clear that his hour, i.e., the time of salvation’s harvest, has arrived.” Note that in today’s Gospel, the Greeks request to see Jesus. Their sincere desire to believe in Jesus and their presence at Passover time is a great contrast to the doubt and cynicism of the Pharisees who are plotting to kill Jesus. We don’t really know if the Greeks saw Jesus that day but we do know that they came to believe in him through the eyes of faith. How have we encountered Jesus this week in those around us, in the poor, the suffering, the unbelieving, and in the faithful followers of Christ?
The Easter Triduum schedule is included in today’s bulletin. Please note the additions in the schedule.
Blessings on your Lenten Journey!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ