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.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone tablets—surviving evidence of the life in the ancient Near East. This stone record gives us a glimpse of the cultures that are the background of the Bible.
Especially helpful to Biblical studies has been the record of covenants—agreements made between merchants, traders or rulers in biblical times. By studying these business or legal relationships, we can understand the religious concept of covenant–our Scriptural theme all through this Lent.
In today’s first reading, however, the prophet Jeremiah wants us to move from covenants recorded on stone to another kind of covenant. Jeremiah is thinking of the Ten Commandments, written on stone by God and given to Moses. Now God tells the prophet that henceforth the covenant will be written in the hearts of the people. They will know their God with the intimacy of a lover. They will respond from the heart.
Lent is about renewing our Baptism. In Baptism God has “written on our hearts” a personal, covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel Jesus refers to his own act of self-giving, in the beautiful image of the grain of wheat, which dies in order to allow new life to grow. In the same passage he invites his followers to imitate him in that selfless act of love.
In these final weeks of Lent, let’s seek to respond to that covenant invitation.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Jer 31:31-34), Jeremiah proclaims that a new covenant is coming? Where will the Lord write this new covenant?
Does the message of Jeremiah say that the new covenant will be given to all?
What does the letter, in the second reading (Heb 5:7-9), say about the suffering of Jesus?
What did Jesus become even though he offered his life on the cross?
According to the Gospel (Jn 12:20-33), there were Greeks who came to worship at the Passover. What request do they make to Philip?
What does Philip do?
Think of a covenant that you could enter into with someone. It could be something like promising to do the dishes after dinner or doing your homework without being reminded.
With spring upon us, try to start some plants from seed. You can eventually move them outside or put them in a pot inside.