Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fifth Sunday in Lent


Year B
Fifth Sunday of Lent


New life
No wheat unless the grain dies

Points to note

We have returned to using the Gospel reading.  This reading though does not contain the full reading in the Missal (vs 20-30) as I have left out those verses that have nothing to do with this week’s theme.  The imagery this Sunday is that of a grain of wheat that ‘dies’ but re-emerges as wheat.  You may wish to refer to the leaflet for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year A for further reference.

Much of the symbolism of Lent is lost on those who live in the tropics.  Spring, the meaning of the word ‘Lent’, is the season when seemingly dead trees that have shed its leaves in winter come back to life and flowers blossom.  Spring is also the time when many animals like sheep and rabbits have their young (it gives them a longer time to grow strong before the onset of a cold winter), which is the idea behind Easter Bunnies.  If this is explained to the children, care must be taken to ensure that the children do not get confused or lose their orientation.


Gospel Acclamation

The Alleluia is not sung during the season of Lent. 

Glory to you O Christ, you are the Word of God!
If a man serves me, says the Lord, he must follow me;
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
Glory to you O Christ, you are the Word of God!

The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with you.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
All:   Glory to you O Lord
 (Jn 12: 20-30)
Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some pilgrims.  They approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”  Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus.  Jesus replied to them:

“Now the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord


When you look at an egg, does it look alive?  Helps if you have an egg handy.  What happens if the mother hen sits on it for three weeks?  Discuss how things that look dead can come to life.  Any other examples?

In this reading, Jesus talked about a grain of wheat.  What do farmers do with a wheat grain?  Plant it.  What do we get out of it?  Wheat to make flour for bread.  If the farmer never planted it though, what would it be?  It would remain a grain of wheat.  Explain that is how Jesus tried to explain why he had to die on the cross.  Unless he dies, like the grain of wheat, nothing good will ever come out of it.

Jesus once called himself the resurrection and the life.  What did he mean by that?  Discuss how Jesus said that those who believe in him will never die but will live forever.  Explain that Jesus has promised us eternal life in Paradise.  For children less easily satisfied, you may need to use images of misery for death and images of happiness for life.

Discuss the significance of new life in baptism.  During baptism by immersion, the person to be baptised is immersed under water and re-emerges as a new person with a new life, a Christian.  After being baptised at the Easter midnight mass, the newly baptised neophyte lights his candle from the Paschal candle. 

For symbolism of new life, you may wish to refer to previous weeks’ leaflets, especially those of the Lenten readings in year A.  Also we all get Easter eggs, eggs to symbolise new life; and Easter bunnies, rabbits having their young in spring.

You may wish to link this up with real life.  Like Jesus having to go through death on the cross to give us new life, we often have to go through something difficult or even nasty, in order to achieve something we want.   For instance: exams; working hard to prepare a party; any other ideas?

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