Year A: Ezekiel 37:12–14; Psalm 130:1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 7–8; Romans 8:8–11;John 11:1–45
Year B: Jeremiah 31:31–34; Psalm 51: 3–4, 12–13, 14–15; Hebrews 5:7–9; John 12:20–33
Year C: Isaiah 43:16–21; Psalm 126:1–2a, 2b–3, 4–5, 6; Philippians 3:8–14; John 8:1–11
The figure of the prophet Jeremiah walks into our liturgy in the fifth week of Lent (on Sunday in Year B and on Friday), and his personal passion and death foreshadows that of Jesus. In the decades before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and carried its ruling class into exile, Jeremiah fearlessly confronted idolatry and the bad political alliances of Judah’s kings. He paid the ultimate price after the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah himself was exiled to Egypt and there, tradition tells us, was murdered by some of his own people who conspired against him.
Most poignant of all, his oracles is found in Jeremiah 31.
There the Lord promises a “new covenant” to the people. Once again, Jeremiah anticipates Jesus. This new relationship with God will not be written on stone but on the people’s hearts. They will live it so powerfully that no instruction will be necessary. “‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more’” (34b).
Those to be baptized at Easter are in the final stages of their preparation. Their understanding of the relationship growing within them has passed beyond written teaching. Their friendship with the Lord has been nurtured by the community, by their sponsors, and by what God has placed in their hearts. May we support one another in these final days of Lent and search our own hearts for what God has written there.
Find time to talk with those preparing for baptism in your parish and assure them of your prayers.
Help us know you, Lord, from what you have written in our hearts.
May we turn away from sin and embrace your covenant.