Today in our first reading, we hear the prophet Jeremiah proclaiming the words of God, that He will make a new covenant, this covenant will be written on the hearts of mankind. As we know the previous covenant was written on tablets of stone and brought to the people by Moses. This new covenant, will be written on our hearts. We have heard elsewhere in Scriptures that our hearts of stone will become hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 & 36:26). This heart of flesh will enable us to love God and love our neighbour. This heart of flesh will allow us to forgive those who trespass against us and lead us to the forgiveness of God who “will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind”.

Our psalm continues the theme as we ask God to create in all of us a pure heart; we ask God for mercy; we ask God to take away our sins. This psalm is very familiar to those who pray the Office of the Church, most Friday mornings this psalm is used helping those who pray, to focus on the things we need forgiveness for. This is not, however focussed on the sins, if that were the case, we would still have hearts of stone. The focus is on the joy of receiving God’s forgiveness, recognising that we cannot succeed without God’s help and that God is only too happy to help us, to forgive us and to sustain us.

Our second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, reminds us that Jesus prayed often and earnestly; Jesus always found time for prayer; there were times when He would take himself off to a quiet place to pray, maintaining His relationship with His Father. It was only through his perfect obedience to the Father that we could be saved. Jesus provided the perfect example for us, complete obedience to God, but this was done not because it was written on tablets of stone, but because it was written on His heart. Jesus is the New Covenant, Jesus gives us a focus to love, Jesus is God made flesh, Jesus is love.

In our Gospel reading today, we have Jesus again telling us that He will be lifted up. This is not Jesus as a victim, this is Jesus’ glorious victory. Jesus is fulfilling his mission; he compares himself to a grain of wheat, which must die and be buried to yield a rich harvest. He tells us to follow Him.

This passage of dialogue from Jesus was prompted by a request from some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus. Jesus did not answer the request directly with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, but He finished this prophecy of His Passion with the words “when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself.” Jesus was saying that He was not here just to save the Israelites; He was here to save everyone, the Greeks would have to wait until the resurrection.

Jesus said, “wherever I am, my servant will be there too.” How have we served Jesus this week? I could ask in a different way, who have we taken Jesus to this week? For me, I had an encounter with a colleague from work, I don’t know if he is a believer or not, but a few months ago he told me that his wife was expecting a baby and that they had suffered miscarriages during previous pregnancies. I said I would pray for them. I met up with him this week and he was delighted to tell me that he was now the proud father to a little boy called Luke. He thanked me for my prayers. Our prayers make a difference; they give hope, they take Jesus to people who may have lost hope or are struggling with what life throws at them. Our new covenant, to love God and to love our neighbour, a covenant written by God on every person’s heart. Remember when God spoke through Jeremiah, he said “There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know the Lord!’ No, they will all know me, the least no greater than greatest – it is the Lord who speaks.” This means that we all have the love of God in us, written on our hearts. It should be natural for us all to follow, by following Jesus we can bring this covenant to life in those who do not believe.

Jesus calls us to action, He wants us to light up the world with His light, to love our neighbour with His love, to restore peace with His peace. As we approach the time when we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we can ask ourselves, what sacrifice am I prepared to make for Jesus? He who gave everything for us, asks us to follow Him; to pick up our cross and follow Him. How do we respond?

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • All those who are sick, all those who care for them and all Key workers who are striving to keep us safe.
  • The three families completing the Baptism Preparation Course this weekend via Zoom.
  • For all those taking part in the Walk for Water campaign, that we all have the strength to overcome any physical ailments.
  • For those who have been putting off going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; that they will have the courage to go and receive God’s forgiveness.
  • For those who do not believe in God, that this Lent and Easter will open their eyes to the magnificent wonder of our Creator.
  • For all those taking part in the online Alpha course, as they look at how to resist evil.
  • For the success of the RCIA course next Wednesday, that all those attending will gain an understanding and develop a love for the Sacraments of the Church.

Once again, I thank those who have sponsored me on my Walk for Water Challenge in aid of Cafod. If you would like to sponsor me, please go to Deacon Tony’s Walk for Water Challenge | Walk for Water | CAFOD I have now completed the 400,000 steps since Ash Wednesday and with your help I have raised just £1542 for Cafod. I now plan to try and reach 500,000 steps before Easter Sunday.

All donations are greatly appreciated and as always if you are unable to financially support me or the others taking part your prayers are very welcome.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 20th March 2021.

Some links to help us as we approach Palm Sunday next week.

Sunday – Library : We hail you, O Cross of Christ! | Catholic Culture

Monday – “The Humility of a Little Donkey” — Heartlight®

Tuesday – On Palm Sunday, 2019: A Reflection from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen | Papal Artifacts

Wednesday – TOP 17 PALM SUNDAY QUOTES | A-Z Quotes

Thursday – 5 Quotes for Palm Sunday | The Stream

Friday – The 7 Effects of Confession (piercedhearts.org)

Saturday – – A Palm Sunday message from Pope Francis: Do not be afraid; you are not alone | America Magazine