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Sunday, March 29, 2009

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Fifth Sunday of Lent


Jeremiah 31:31-34
Hebrews 5:7-9
Psalm 51
John 12:20-33

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coming attraction

"The hour has come." —John 12:23

Jesus told His hearers that the hour of His death was approaching. He observed: "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24). The burial of the seed in the soil is not its final end, but a time of transition. The life in the seed "dies," but this death leads to a different life that bears much fruit (Jn 12:24).

The Greek word translated "die" in John 12:24 literally means to "die away." Each day, we must die away from our sins and desires. Even while receiving the Bread of Life, we still focus on dying away (1 Cor 11:26). We die to ourselves (Lk 9:23) and continually "carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus" (2 Cor 4:10). The more we die away, the more the life of Jesus is revealed in us (2 Cor 4:10).

When Jesus was lifted up on the cross to die, He attracted all to Himself (Jn 12:32). His death gathered many together (Jn 11:51-52). How will it be at your death? For some of you, "the hour" of your death is coming soon (Jn 12:23). Will your death glorify God and attract many to Jesus? You can increase the glory God will receive at your death by daily "dying away" so as to allow His life to overshadow you. Die to yourself daily, lay down your life for Jesus, and prepare to bear an attractive and attracting harvest for the glory of God.

Prayer:  "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Promise:  "If anyone serves Me, him the Father will honor." —Jn 12:26

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the First-Born of the dead (Col 1:18), Whose death has brought us life!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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