5th Sunday of Lent
“Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.”
By Sister Mary Owens
Director, Children of God Relief Institute – Nyumbani, Nairobi, Kenya
This 5th Sunday of Lent we touch into Jesus’ experience as the time for his ultimate sacrifice for humankind draws near. Truly human, he feels dread at the suffering ahead of him: “My soul is troubled,” and very naturally he pleads with his Father: “Father, save me from this hour.” But then, in his deeper self, he knows that it was for this ultimate sacrifice that he became incarnate and that, by his dying on the Cross, God the Father would be glorified: “Father glorify your name”. God the Father confirms this. “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.” But it still means that his son must suffer. Surely this moment in Jesus’ life is an inspiring model for each one of us as we face the various moments of suffering in our personal life: imminent loss of a loved one, an upcoming change in our work life which will bring disruption to family and social life, facing possible diagnosis of a medical condition which would mean restriction in our way of living. May Jesus’ example of commitment to his Father’s will at his moment of suffering be a source of strength to us when we face suffering in our life. At the same time, we pray, asking God nor to let this happen like Jesus “offered up prayer and entreaty aloud and in silent tears to the one who had the power to save Him.” ‘His prayer was heard’ in that he gained strength to face the suffering ahead of him. May our prayer also be heard as we face God’s will for us at our time of suffering.
For Jesus, His dying on the Cross was the cost of our redemption, of our sins being forgiven, “I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.” As we reflect this Sunday on Jesus’ supreme sacrifice, his accepting to endure his passion and dying on the Cross for us, for me, what is my response to Jesus’ sacrifice to save me from my sin? Am I allowing myself this Lent to bring to mind my personal sin and sinfulness, and ask God to forgive me? Are my attitudes Christ-like or need healing: Do I stigmatize those who are different from me, like persons living with HIV, of a different ethnic origin, of a different political alignment, or a different sexual orientation? Do I forgive others, not holding on to hurt and anger? Do others experience me, through my living and attitudes, that I am truly following Jesus? When I come in contact with Jesus in prayer, am I allowing God to imprint his law in my heart, to be my God? “Deep within them, I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.” May we, during this Lent, allow God to transform our living that we may be another Christ in our world to-day.
Click here for the French version: 5e Dimanche de Carême