Liturgy Alive

The liturgical calendar 2020

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

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Sunday MARCH 21

 

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

 

  1. Losing One's Life to Find Life
  2. Like a Grain of Wheat

 

Greeting (see Second Reading)

Christ, the Son of God,
learned to obey through suffering;
and so he became to all who obey him
the source of eternal salvation.
May this Lord Jesus be with you always. R/ And also with you.

 

Introduction by the Celebrant

 

  1. Losing One’s Life to Find Life

All those who grow plants, even people in the city who love flowers, know that seeds have to die in the soil so that shoots can sprout from them and give us colorful flowers. The seed has to die to give life. In the same way, Jesus died to give us life. And we, his disciples today, have to follow in his footsteps. We have to give ourselves so that others may be happy and live. St. Paul says with Jesus: “No one lives for oneself.” Can we say the same of ourselves?

 

  1. Like a Grain of Wheat

It is not reasonable to look for pain and suffering, yet we know that in life there are certain pains we have to accept in line with our tasks in life – a woman has to pass through birth pangs to bring a child into the world, parents sacrifice themselves for their children, nurses dedicate themselves to lighten the pains of the sick. Yes, the seed has to die in the furrows to give life to a new plant. Today Jesus invites us to follow him in accepting the pain and efforts needed in carrying out our task in life.

 

Penitential Act

We now ask forgiveness from the Lord
for having lived too centered on ourselves.
                        (pause)
Lord Jesus, you remind us,
“Anyone who loves one’s life will lose it,
but anyone who gives one’s life
will have everlasting life.”
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you invite us:
“Those who want to serve me
must follow in my footsteps.”
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you give us
both the example and the strength
to live not for ourselves only:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Restore our life with your pardon, Lord
and let it be a life in the service of God
and of the people around us,
so that you can give us everlasting life. R/ Amen.

 

Opening Prayer

Let us pray for a love
that gives itself away
                        (pause)
God our Father,
you planted your own Son
as a grain of wheat
in the furrows of our earth
and from his death grew
the abundant harvest of a new humanity.
Give us the courage to follow him,
so that our love too
may bring life and joy to many.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

 

First Reading: A New Covenant

      At a time of much infidelity, God promises a new covenant, a new union of life and love of God with his people. They will be guided by the interior law of love in their hearts.

 

Reading 1: Jer 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15.

(12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

 

Second Reading: Jesus’ Death Is Our Source of Life

      Jesus was afraid of suffering and death, yet he accepted it out of loyalty to the Father, and out of love for us. By his death he brought us life.

 

Reading 2: Heb 5:7-9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

 

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 12:26

Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord;
and where I am, there also will my servant be.

 

Gospel: Dying to Give Life to Others

      By dying in the ground the grain of wheat gives a rich harvest. By dying on the cross Jesus gives us eternal life. The disciples of Jesus, too, must risk their lives for others.

 

Gospel: Jn 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour'?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."
Then a voice came from heaven,
"I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Jesus answered and said,
"This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world;
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself."
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

 

Intercessions

With his arms stretched out on the cross Jesus wanted to draw all people to himself. Let us go to him with the needs and hopes of all and say:

            R/ Save your people, Lord.

–                   For those who look for a faith to believe in, that they may find it in the Church and see Jesus present there in its love and concern for those who are poor and suffering, let us pray:

                     R/ Save your people, Lord.

–                   For the candidates for baptism, that they may come to see Jesus in the community that will support them in their faith, let us pray:

                     R/ Save your people, Lord.

–                   For people who commit themselves to bring joy and happiness and hope to others, that they may keep seeing Jesus in those they serve, let us pray:

                     R/ Save your people, Lord.

–                   For the many victims of wars and violence, that they may not give in to despair but come to see the Lord Jesus in his suffering and draw strength and hope from him, let us pray:

                     R/ Save your people, Lord.

–                   For ourselves too, that in hard days we may see the Lord Jesus as our inspiration and our source of trust and courage, and that he make us grow more mature through our cares, let us pray:

                     R/ Save your people, Lord.

Lord Jesus, we keep looking for you. Save us in the hour of discouragement. Keep us one with you now and for ever. R/ Amen.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
in these signs of bread and wine
we remember Jesus, your Son,
who gave himself to all
as bread to be broken and shared
and as wine to be poured for the joy of all.
Give us the spirit of Jesus,
that we too may commit ourselves:
to the happiness of those around us.
Make us willing to accept suffering
if this is the price to pay
to be faithful to you and to people.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

Jesus laid down his life for us to bring us all the riches of God’s life. He became the seed dying in the furrows so that we might live and grow and flower. Let us join Jesus to thank the Father.

 

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

In all honesty Jesus could call God “Father,”
because he did the Father’s will to the end.
Let us pray with Jesus
for the same openness to God’s will. R/ Our Father...

 

Deliver Us

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and from the fear of committing ourselves
to our brothers and sisters.
In your mercy, keep us free
from our egoism and false attachments
and protect us from all anxiety
in the face of suffering.
In our trials give us your Son’s strength,
as we work in joy and hope
toward the coming in glory
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

 

Invitation to Communion

This is Jesus, the Lamb of God,
who became for us
a grain of wheat dying in the ground,
that we might live and be capable of love.
Happy are we to receive him. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

 

Prayer after Communion

Lord our God, loving Father,
on account of his love for you and for us,
no suffering was too painful for your Son,
no death too costly
to win for us life and lasting happiness.
Through this Eucharist help us to accept
the invitations and risks of love.
Make us follow your Son
in living not for ourselves but for others,
and give us the certainty
that pain or death is not the end
but the seed of a new beginning
in Christ Jesus our Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Blessing

Christ did not make demands on others,
for love makes no demands, it only invites.
Christ gave. He gave himself.
Where the master goes, the disciple must follow.
May we too learn to give ourselves to others,
even at the cost of pain,
that we may grow as God’s people.
May almighty God strengthen and bless you:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

 

Let us follow our Lord with courage in his suffering and in his life.

R/ Thanks be to God.

 

Commentary:

If the grain of wheat does not die...

The sacrifice of life that Jesus made on the Cross was a puzzle for many. Why was it a necessity for the Son of God to be crucified? It was indeed a necessity for us to realize that his love for the Father as well as his love for us is total, unconditional and without any reservation. His self-giving sacrifice produced the fruit of life.

John presents the human face of Jesus as he prepares for the final sacrifice. He is afraid as everyone is afraid of death; he would like to avoid it. A premature death, in the prime of life, violent, absurd, abandoned by all, even by his friends, delivered by one of his disciples, therefore, victim of hatred.

Here is the inner drama of Jesus and he wonders: What can I say at this moment... ask the Father to save me from this hour? But I have come for this very hour that the supreme revelation of the love of God will take place and I have to go through it.' And he prays: "Father, give glory to your Name." 'Through me show forth your glory.' It is Jesus' acceptance of the Father's plan.

Love does not manifest itself without surrender, without renouncing one's own will. Spouses would know this better. There is no marriage that works well without a good dose of sacrifice, of renunciation, of surrender. In the same way, the new covenant is signed in mutual surrender. But since it is God's initiative to sign this covenant with humanity, to give us life, it is God who takes the first step in that surrender.

To show us His good will, He became one of us, went through the same joys and difficulties as we do and ended up dying like anybody else. But of course, with a difference: he made his death a sign of his love and a sign of life. His death is the grain of wheat that dies, and when it dies, it bears much fruit. The cross, an instrument of death, becomes a sign of life.

Do we know of any cases in which death or pain have been occasions to grow in love and life? Do we want to make our life a gift to others "so that they may have life"? How?

 

Liturgical Calendar 2021

Liturgical Calendar 2020
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