March 17, 2024

Fifth Sunday
of Lent

Year B

The “hour” of Jesus does not depend on human will but is the time of God, which He welcomes and makes of him, orienting his whole life towards it.

THE TIME OF JESUS

The symbol of this Sunday is temporal, the “hour” of Jesus. At Cana, the Master spoke of an “hour” which however has not yet come (cf. John 2:4). What will be accomplished in it contains the profound sense of his identity and vocation. There is an aspect to highlight: the “now” (which we know coincides with his Easter) does not depend on human will but is God’s time, a theological time that Jesus welcomes and makes of him, orienting all his life towards it. The term appears 26 times in the Fourth Gospel and has a qualitative and salvific meaning. The entire Johannine narrative tends towards this telos and consequently towards the manifestation of the glory of God which must manifest itself in it. “Now” and “glory” are two terms combined in some strategic passages of the Gospel story. At the beginning, as we have recalled (cf. Jn 2.4) and at the end (cf. Jn 12.23) of the public ministry of Jesus (Book of Signs); at the beginning (cf. Jn 13,1) and at the end (cf. Jn 17, 1) of the Farewell Discourses (Book of Glory). The point where they join is that of the death of Jesus (cf. John 19.30). But before the fulfilment of the “hour”, John sees the hardening of Israel (cf. Jn 12:37-50). In the Man on the cross, Israel did not recognize the Messiah sent by God, yet, on the cross, Jesus is the new temple, the new lamb, the authentic place to worship the Father in spirit and truth. However, the divine plan has not failed for Israel, which, with the Church, awaits the definitive “hour” of history. Luke, in Acts 3.30, describes it as the advent of a new consolation from God through the definitive sending of Jesus: «Repent therefore and change your life, so that your sins may be erased and so the times of consolation may come from part of the Lord and let him send the one whom he had destined for you as Christ, that is, Jesus.” Perugino offers us a Jesus fully within the “hour” of the Passion and at the same time extraordinarily Lord in a panel painted between 1500 and 1505 and now kept in the National Gallery (London).

Commentary by b. Sandro Carotta, osb
Abbazia di Praglia (Italy)

Translation by f. Mark Hargreaves,
Prinknash Abbey

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