Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B): Gospel – John 12:20-33
Jesus emphasizes the centrality of the Cross, in His saving mission and in the lives of everyone who would follow him.
Jesus’ “redemptive passion was the very reason for His Incarnation” (Catechism paragraph 607). Through the “great Paschal mystery – His death on the Cross and His Resurrection – He would accomplish the coming of His kingdom. ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself’” (542).
“This gathering is the Church, on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdom” (541) — “born primarily of Christ’s total self-giving for our salvation” (766).
Jesus calls us to follow His example of total self-giving, affirming that only by dying to ourselves can we enter eternal life. In so doing, the Lord offers each one of us “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the Paschal mystery” (618).
We experience this reality most profoundly in the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. In Baptism, the descent into the water signifies “the descent into the tomb” (628), our “burial into Christ’s death,” from which we rise up “by resurrection with Him, as a new creature” (1214).
Having “become members of Christ” (1213), we are called to “become God’s fellow workers and co-workers for His kingdom” (307). We offer ourselves in union with the Lord’s sacrifice:
In the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of His Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with His total offering, and so acquire a new value.
— paragraph 1368.
By embracing our own crosses, we advance in the spiritual life and grow closer to Jesus: “The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle” (2015).
Question for reflection: How has dying to myself helped me to follow Jesus more closely?