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“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” These words from our Gospel today were spoken to Philip by “some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast.” Notice that the Greeks only wanted to meet Jesus and not necessarily follow him. I think we sometimes take a similar approach to Jesus. We keep Jesus at a safe distance, most likely fearful of what he might ask of us. And to be honest there is some validity to this fear. I say this, because a few verses later in our Gospel today Jesus says: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” These words remind us that following Jesus does not guarantee a life free of difficulties, trials, or uncertainties. Rather in trying to follow Jesus in this life we know that ultimately we will be led to eternal life.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. In the section we read this Sunday the Lord promises to make a new covenant “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” This new covenant is necessary because the people had broken the old covenant God had made with them. The terms of the new covenant are simple. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Our second reading this Sunday is a short selection from the Letter to the Hebrews. It reminds that Jesus “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Have you ever felt yourself keeping your distance from Jesus, perhaps fearful of what he might ask of you?
2. What do you think God meant when he said he would write God’s law upon the people’s hearts?
3. The letter to the Hebrews spoke of obeying Jesus. I think, though, the word “obey” sometimes has some negative connotations. Is this true for you? If so, what word would you use instead?