Fifth Sunday of Lent Gospel Reflection
Sunday, March 21, 2021
by Sister Marilyn Pechillo, SNDdeN
Today’s Gospel reading offers a paradigm of Christian life. It speaks of making the effort to meet Jesus, embracing His teaching and living the Paschal Mystery. It also reminds us that we are not alone. We belong to a community of believers called to follow a leader who knows and understands our sufferings and joys.
During the feast in Jerusalem, some Greeks desire to see Jesus. They approach Philip, who, like Jesus, comes from Galilee. Philip engages Andrew, and both go to Jesus. The details of the layered approach to Jesus strike a chord. Often, when we are in awe of or a bit nervous about meeting someone, we seek a companion. Philip and Andrew bring the Greeks to Jesus, who then speaks solemnly about His mission.
Two things stand out here. First, the Greeks are foreigners, different from the apostles, and unknown to Jesus, yet Jesus welcomes them and includes them in His circle, sharing with the whole group His deepest feelings. He makes those who had been strangers friends! Second, Jesus knows what He is facing and struggles with it, asking His Father’s help. He continues to reveal the Paschal Mystery, solemnly proclaiming, “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” He accepts His mission, requesting not that the Father save Him from suffering but rather that the Father’s name be glorified. The Father speaks, declaring that He has glorified and will in the future glorify His name, thus affirming Jesus’ fulfillment of His mission.
In our everyday lives we walk with each other. May God give us the humility and courage to admit when we need help, to remember that we do not walk alone. May we trust God’s action in our lives and acknowledge with deep gratitude God’s work in us and through us. As we muddle through daily life, we know we cannot avoid Good Friday, but we hope for Easter Sunday. We know the joy of Jesus’ presence with us, of our God’s compassion and great love. May we answer the call to witness that love in our world community.
John 12: 20-28
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say–‘ Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it,
and I will glorify it again.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Meet Sister Marilyn Pechillo, SNDdeN
Sr. Marilyn Pechillo grew up in Baltimore, MD and Stratford, CT. She met the SNDdeNs in high school and entered Notre Dame in 1961. Sr. Marilyn studied Classics at Emmanuel College, Trinity in Hartford and Loyola University of Chicago. She taught in high school and college for many years, including several years at Trinity College (now Trinity University) in Washington, D.C. and two years at Loyola of Chicago’s Rome Center. Sr. Marilyn also served in province leadership. In more recent years, Sr. Marilyn has worked in pastoral ministry with SNDdeNs and lay residents at Notre Dame Health Care in Worcester, where she served as Pastoral Care Associate and transition companion. Sr. Marilyn also serves on the US SNDdeN Anti-racism team.