5th Sunday of Lent
April 6, 2003
Jeremiah 31:31-34 II:
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.
21 So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa'ida in Galilee, and
said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told
23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the
earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this
world will keep it for eternal life.
26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall
my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from
this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have
glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others
said, "An angel has spoken to him."
30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.
31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world
be cast out;
32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to
33 He said this to show by what death he was to die.
- This incident occurs after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem just
before the Passion. Strangers to the Jews, these men from the
Hellenistic world came to Jerusalem to participate at the Pascal
- (v.20) The contact of Jesus during his ministry was confined mostly to
his own people. The contact with the Gentiles was exceptional. The
desire of these people of Greek culture to look for a true God to
worship, led them to try to meet with Jesus.
- (v.21) Philip and Andrew were the only persons having Greek names.
Maybe because of Philip's knowledge of the Greek language, they came to
him asking to be introduced to Jesus.
- (v.22) The "hour" in this case means the moment of the Redemption
through his death and glorification; it is also the condemnation of this
"World" and its ruler (v.31).
- (v.24) "Fruit" in this context may suggest the convert of the
- (v.25) To hate is a Jewish way to say "love less." We are to prefer
eternal life over the earthly one.
- (v.28) God the Father bears witness to the divinity of Jesus as He did
at Christ's baptism (Mt 3:13-17) and at his Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-5).
One Main Point
The main part of this Gospel speaks of the necessity of the death of
Jesus for universal salvation. Only by the surrender of his life could
Christ bear fruit, that is to bring all people to salvation, Jews and
- Try to put yourself at the moment when you heard what God the Father
has said: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again (v.28)".
Jesus said that the message is intended for you. He looks at you. What
do you think God the Father means to tell you? What kind of response do
you present to Him?
- Does this Gospel passage challenge you against your present way of
living? Did you ever introduce anyone to Jesus? What will be your
response when someone told you they were wondering about the meaning of
- The thought of death saddens Jesus (v.27), but He turns to the Father
in prayer. Are you saddened by Jesus' call to follow Him? To hate your
life? And to be buried like the grain of wheat into the ground? What is
your answer to his call?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community