Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection. If used as an introduction during worship, a suggested format can be found here.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

YAHWEH tells the people he will establish a new covenant with them, different from that established at Sinai but which they did not keep. This time all will be forgiven them and everyone will know YAHWEH personally, the law being written on their hearts.

Psalm (51:1-12)

The Psalmist acknowledges his sinfulness, begging forgiveness on the basis of God’s steadfast love and mercy, even though there is just cause for punishment. He desires an inner transformation so that he may keep God’s laws by means of his Spirit within.

Alternate Psalm (119:9-16)

The Psalmist, apparently a young person, delights in the ways of YAHWEH and states his desire to follow the divine laws. To do this he must continue to treasure them in his heart and meditate on them day and night so that they cannot be forgotten or ignored.

 Second Reading (Hebrews 5:5-10)

The writer tells us that Melchizedek, a mysterious priest-king who encountered Abraham long ago, represents the eternal high priesthood to which Jesus belongs. Learning obedience through suffering, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel (John 12:20-33)

Jesus characterizes his death as his glorification. He will die as a seed must in order to bear fruit, and so must his followers. A voice from heaven tells him that the Father will be glorified in his death. When he is lifted up, Jesus says, all people will be drawn to him.


  • Following Jesus involves a death to our previous way of life
  • Human beings always fall short of obeying God in their own strength
  • Jesus brings a new and personal way to relate to God, not based on the law but on grace
  • We need a transformed heart in order to truly follow God’s commandments