Fifth Sunday of Lent

My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ!  King of endless glory! 

In this Fifth Sunday of our Lenten journey toward Easter, we find in the Gospel today the Pharisees saying, “Look, the whole world has gone after him,” as the crowds gathered around Jesus upon His entry into Jerusalem for Passover (Verse 19).  Among them were some Greeks who asked to see Jesus.  Perhaps they were Greek-speaking Jews, or Greeks interested in Judaism. 

Recall that St. John was writing for a predominantly Greek audience, whose world was characterized by dualism: light/dark, flesh/spirits, earthly/heavenly.  If part of St. John’s purpose was to show that Jesus’ mission extended beyond the Jews to the Gentile world, then it would be logical for him to portray Gentiles (Greeks) inquiring to see Jesus.  For the Evangelist St. John, Jesus’ death is the fulfillment of His mission; it is only through death that Christ will be exalted and the Son of Man lifted up from the earth. 

It is good to hear today’s Gospel proclaimed the Sunday before Palm Sunday and Holy Week begins.  Begin to reflect now on the many ways in which the struggles and sufferings we face in this life, both large and small, are united to those of Jesus on the Cross. 

In our Christian lives, we participate in the mission of Jesus, glorifying the Father and bringing others into Communion with Jesus.  Yes, it is time we bring the whole world to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.  As we pray each time during the Stations of the Cross: “We adore You, O Christ and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world!”  On the Cross, Jesus draws all to His loving Heart. 

I invite you to use the envelopes provided to help us cover the costs of flowers to decorate our altars for Holy Week and Easter.  We will build again the garden of the “TOMB OF CHRIST” which will be set up in our church on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, through Easter Octave Week.  It helps us to truly focus on the fact that Jesus died on the Cross and Resurrected…FOR US!!! 

The Christian Holy Week Liturgies celebrate this in a wonderful and moving way.  Plan to join in them all here at our beautiful historic St. John Church: the oldest parish in our whole Diocese!  The doors of our “Mother Church” will be open wide for all to “Come to Christ Jesus.” 

Next Sunday, April 5th, is PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION.  Distribution and Blessing of Palms and reading of the Passion will take place at all of our weekend Masses.  Let us hasten now toward Holy Week and Easter to be renewed in Jesus Christ our Lord.

                                                              Lenten Blessings to all! 
                                                                       Devotedly, 
                      
                                                Father Jim 
                                                        SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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