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Sunday, April 9, 2000

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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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"I — once I am lifted up from earth — will draw all men to Myself." —John 12:32

The Lord promised us a new covenant (Jer 31:31). Jesus called it the covenant in His blood (Mt 26:28). Jesus "became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him" by learning "obedience from what He suffered" (Heb 5:9, 8). "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). Once Jesus was lifted up on the cross, He began to draw all people to Himself (Jn 12:32). Jesus' bloody suffering and death on the cross established the new covenant, gave us salvation, and continues to bear the fruit of evangelization by drawing all people to Him.

When we think of Jesus' cross and our daily crosses (Lk 9:23), our souls are troubled (Jn 12:27). Like Jesus, we are tempted to pray that we will be saved from the cross rather than saved by the cross (Jn 12:27). Yet it is for the cross that we have come to this hour (Jn 12:27). Therefore, let us embrace the cross and determine to "speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Pray with St. Francis of Assisi: "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world." "May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (Gal 6:14)

Prayer:  Father, I will stay "near the cross" (see Jn 19:25).

Promise:  "In the days when He was in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to God, Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence." —Heb 5:7

Praise:  Praise You Jesus crucified, risen, and glorified! Praise Jesus, lifted up and drawing us to Himself!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999