5th Sunday of Lent

Today we celebrate the 5th Sunday of Lent and in three weeks time we will celebrate Easter

As Lent draws us closer to the mysteries we celebrate in Holy week we are reminded that Jesus predicted His own death for our salvation.

'And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I shall draw all men to myself.'
By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.

Jesus predicts His death – and by His cross and resurrection we are set free.

When the Son of man is lifted up He will draw all men to himself.



In a few short weeks we will venerate the Cross on Good Friday with the words – Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the saviour of the world and we will respond Come let us worship.

The cross in those times was a symbol of oppression, of punishment, of torture and an agonising death. But it has become for all Christians a sign of hope and victory.

When the Son of man is lifted up He will draw all men to himself.

Jesus is truly risen from the dead. He has been lifted up from the earth, the tomb. Jesus promised Martha that ‘anyone who believes in me, even though he dies, yet shall he live. I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?’
Christ conquered death by rising from the dead. He promises each of us in our turn a resurrection. This world and all it contains, as good and as wholesome as much of it can be, is passing away. We are destined to eternal life, to be 'raised with Him on the last day’. St Paul tells us: 'if we have died with him, we shall also rise with him.’ But we must not only die physically, we must continually die to sin. Therefore, each time we go to confession is a mini-resurrection from the mire of sin to walk once more a life in the Spirit and as a child of the light.

When the Son of man is lifted up He will draw all men to himself.

The paschal mystery is completed with Jesus' ascension to His Father. Jesus tells his disciples at the Last Supper: 'I am going away, where I am going you cannot come. But I am going away to prepare a place for you. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not I should have told you. When I return I shall come to take you with me, so that where I am, you will be too. You do not the way to the place where I am going.’Our eternal home is awaiting us.

When the Son of man is lifted up He will draw all men to himself.

What follows is perhaps the most important immediate implication of this declaration of Jesus. It applies to the Mass. At the consecration, we believe that the simple elements of bread and wine are changed, utterly, into the Body, Blood and Soul and Divinity of Christ. When the priest raises the Host and Chalice – at the consecration, at the Through Him with Him and in Him, and at the Behold the Lamb of God, the ‘Son is Man is [once more] being lifted up and drawing all men to Himself.

But at the consecration –something mysterious and marvellous is happening. The priest says: this is my body...this is my blood.’ It is not MY body, it is Christ’s! It is not MY blood, it is Christ’s! So why do I, a priest, say MY Body... My Blood? Because Christ is, as it were, borrowing my voice, using my lips to speak the words about Himself. What is more, we believe that we are at Calvary and the Last Supper all at once, this is Church teaching. The curtain of time parts and we are back 2000 years at Calvary and the Upper Room where Christ says ‘Do this in memory of me’. We are there, or Calvary is here. It is not repeated, it is RE-presented. That is why we say: ‘the mystery of faith’. Christ’s Body and Blood are admittedly, under the appearance of bread and wine, but with the eyes of faith we say, 'Behold the Lamb of God', and ‘the Body of Christ’.

This is why we are having a Eucharistic congress this year to remind us of the beauty, reality and dignity of the Eucharistic celebration.

Let us pray for greater faith in Christ’s Real Presence, so that we may be drawn to Him.

When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.

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