Celebrate Sunday Mass - Fifth Sunday of Lent - 3.21.21

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3/21/2021 (3 weeks ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

March 21, 2021 -- The FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these liturgies online has been overwhelming. 

The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass. In our first reading for today's Holy Mass, we heard an excerpt from the Book of Jeremiah. The Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah is a Messianic Prophet. The Holy Spirit speaks through Him to the people of Israel about a coming Messiah who would establish a new kingdom. '

In this passage from Chapter 31, Jeremiah tells them that "...the days are coming when the Lord will make a New Covenant." Those days have come. Soon, during Holy Week, we will commemorate the Last Supper, the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the institution of the ministerial priesthood. Jesus (See, Matt 26:28) will say these words:  "...this is the blood of the New Covenant". 

The Lord has always wanted all men and women to return to Him. His plan of salvation was universal. He chose Israel to reveal Himself to every Nation by working with a specific people. In the "fullness of time", as the Apostle Paul would explain to the early Christians (See Gal. 4:4), He sent His Son Jesus Christ. His blood, the blood of the Son of God, the promised Messiah, sealed the New Covenant and so fulfilled this passage from Jeremiah promising a new covenant. 

The Church, which was birthed from the wounded side of the crucified Savior on Calvary, is now the New Israel. All who pass through the waters of Baptism, will be made a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. That is the Church.    

And that includes you and me. Do we really believe this?  Do we live as though we believe it?  

Invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind during the upcoming Holy Week so that what we commemorate in our services changes us from the inside out. Invite Jesus to be your Savior, Lord and Master. Do it verbally and do it from the heart. He hears you. And, He will respond. 

In our second reading for today's Holy Mass, we heard an excerpt from the fifth chapter of the beautiful letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament. Those who first received this letter were Jewish followers of Jesus Christ. They were being taught in this instruction that Jesus is the great High Priest. They understood the Jewish, Levitical priesthood. They understood that the priests offered sacrifices on behalf of the people under the Old Covenant. 

But the High Priesthood of Jesus is different.  Jesus offers Himself. So, He is both the priest and the sacrifice. And the priesthood He institutes is also different. Everything before Him pointed to Him, and everything now finds its fulfillment in Him.  

At every Holy Mass, the priest at the altar stands, to use the Latin, "in persona Christi". That means, in the person of Christ. It is Jesus Himself who is the Priest. Jesus Himself who is the Sacrifice. 

The Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is not a mere commemoration. It is a real participation in the great and timeless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Though offered once and for all, that sacrifice is outside of time. And we mere mortals are invited to enter it at every Holy Mass. 

The Holy Mass is the most wonderful prayer offered by the Church. It is the very source and summit of the Christian life. We should always prepare ourselves for our own participation. What a gift we have. At every Holy Mass, heaven is joined to earth and earth is joined to heaven. 

In the Gospel appointed for this fifth Sunday of Lent, we heard an excerpt from the twelfth chapter of St. John. Jesus has just entered Jerusalem. It was a triumphal entry into the Holy City for the observance of the Sabbath.  Some Greeks tell Philip (who tells Andrew) that they want to see Jesus. They both tell the Lord. Jesus speaks of the grain of wheat falling to the ground. He is speaking of Himself. He knew what was to come.  He knew He was to be the grain of wheat. That He was sent to die, so that we might live.

 The once triumphant crowd soon becomes His very accusers. He would suffer His Passion and voluntarily submit to His saving death for the salvation of the world. He says "...Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.' By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die." He was lifted on the Cross. 

He came to die for us, so that we might live for, in, through and with Him. 

May this Holy Week be a time of great conversion. May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day and throughout the remainder of this pilgrimage of faith called Lent.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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