Fifth Sunday of Lent

The first reading gives us an enticing offer–a new covenant. And with a new covenant comes a new heart for each of us. The offer seems fantastic–like a game show or talk show where the host announces a wonderful surprise win. We all struggle in love and fidelity. We all feel the need for renewal on a regular basis. Moreover, there is no indication that these experiences are new for humanity. So why have we so consistently hesitated at this offer?

Part of the answer lies in the language of today’s gospel. Jesus speaks today of how “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” What we might think by this is not what Jesus means by this. Our idea of glory might involve a crown, a good house, money–something nice. The hour of glory here is the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God’s idea of “glory” and ours look different at the beginning–something pleasant, as opposed to something sickening.

How do we respond when we discover this difference? What do we do when our notion of renewal and God’s turn out to be different? We have been given many notions of goodness, newness, and glory over our lives–from parents, friends, enemies, and so many others. Some of it is bad, some of it is well-intentioned, and even on the right track. But these ideas will ultimately fall short of what God has in mind. Can we give up our old ideas of what our renewal will look like when confronted with the shortfall?

March 22nd, 2015