I will write it in their hearts

Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 17, 2024: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33; Psalm 51:1-13

“I will put my law within them, and I will write it in their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

Our readings today include Jesus telling his disciples of his impending death. But they also give us hope. In Jeremiah, we hear God’s promise of a new kind of covenant, one in our hearts. God promises that the Israelites will not need to be taught about God, but will all know him. Furthermore, “I will remember their sin no more”. If God is in our hearts, he is always there, and we are never alone.

In the passage from John, Jesus never responds to the Greeks who want to see him, but in the midst of his last sermon in John’s gospel, he reminds us of the way things that seem like losses actually multiply. Jesus’s example, and that of the saints who have followed him, mean that we get to be the many grains of wheat that come from one that died. We take their example, and do our work in the world. I have found that kindnesses beget other kindnesses. Today we talk about paying it forward, but that is how one act of generosity leads to others.

Next Sunday we will read the story of Jesus’s passion, and move into Holy Week. We will hear again of Jesus’s last meal with his disciples, his arrest and trial, and his death on the cross. And in two weeks, we will proclaim with confidence, “He is risen”. In the meantime, may we know God in our hearts, and may we find ways to be the fruits of the wheat that has died, and spread God’s love with all who we encounter.

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