Day 33: The 5th Sunday of Lent

THE WHEAT BURIED IN THE GROUND

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: The Book of Jeremiah 31: 31-34

1.2.  Second Reading: The Letter to the Hebrews 5: 7-9

1.3.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St John 12: 20-33

1.4.  Simple Comment: The prophet Jeremiah breaks into a glorious hymn depicting the triumph of God’s saving work among his people. This is marked by the law within their hearts where there is “no more need to teach friends and kinsmen how to know the Lord”. A similar happy picture is found in John’s Gospel today when the Father’s voice was heard from the sky stating: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” This happened when Jesus fully accepted to serve his Father’s wishes – to be that “grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies”.

 

  1. Monument: Caiaphas Palace in Gallicantu

2.1.  After Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gethsemani, the Gospels tell us that he was tried by the High Priest Caiaphas. One old tradition says the palace of the High Priest is under the present Armenian Church of St Savior, just some yards north of the site revered today as the Upper Room.

2.2.  However, excavations as early as 1888 were carried out on the eastern slope of Mount Zion where now stands the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu (a Latin phraseology meaning the Cock’s Crow). Archaeologists discovered steps that are believed to date from the time of Jesus. Byzantine mosaics were found as well, and a deep cistern with crosses engraved into the neck which seems to come from an early period. This cistern is known as Christ’s Prison. Recently in 1994 more mosaic parts were found supporting the assumption that this place was venerated by the early Christians as the site of the high priest’s palace, where Jesus stood before Caiaphas and where he was kept prisoner or the night before they led him to Pontius Pilate.

2.3.  It was in the courtyard of this same palace where Peter denied Jesus thrice before the cock crowed.

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  According to the Gospel reading today, some Greeks approached Philip. They wanted to see Jesus. So Philip went to Andrew and the two came together to inform Jesus. This incident sparks Jesus’ discourse on how the Father wanted him to be seen by men – “once I am lifted up from earth I will draw all men to myself!”

3.2.  The term “to be lifted up” possesses a double and yet inseparable significance for Jesus: he will be lifted up on the cross at Calvary and the Father will lift him up from the dead at the resurrection. Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday – the two events are intimately connected: the cross and the crown, the thorn and the throne! Thus, the second reading taken from the letter to the Hebrews is most appropriate when it combines these two words, suffered and perfected: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and when perfected, he became the source of salvation for all who obey him.”

 

  1. Contemporary Filipino Question: The ERAP phenomenon in our political history made us sit up and reflect on the clout of our voting masa; and similarly the EL SHADDAI reality with regards to the Church’s significance to the common tao. The powers-that-be can no longer ignore this voice from below. Do we not see here a way on God’s part to awaken us to our senses? Shall we still insist on our disruptive unconcern for the poor?