Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B)


Heart Matters

Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B)

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Hebrews 5:7-9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

John 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Susanna Mak

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart and my heart will go on and on.
(“My Heart Will Go On”, written by James Horner and Will Jennings)

Who can forget this haunting yet beautiful song of Celine Dion, lamenting lost love while acknowledging the strength of an unrelenting heart? Beyond its literal meaning as one of the most important organs, the heart is often metaphorized to represent love and the soul or core of our being in literature, music, or popular culture; not to mention that it is frequently commercialized, packaged, and marketed as a consumer goods to the masses. The symbolic value of the “heart” is indeed undeniable; most would recognize the cultural, emotional and spiritual significance of the “heart” over and above its physicality as a blood-pumping machine.

In this week’s readings, the image of the “heart” leads us into the depth and width of God’s mercy as well as the mystery of our salvation. Jeremiah writes that God’s law is written on “their hearts” (Jer 31:33); the Psalmist pleas for a “clean heart” (Ps 51:12); St. Paul describes how Jesus offers heart-wrenching “prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears” (Heb 5:7); and in John’s Gospel, Jesus admits that his “soul is troubled”, in anticipation of his suffering and ultimate sacrifice for us (Jn 12:27).

Just as Celine Dion croons, “Once more you open the door”, God opens His heart and beckons all of us to enter into a ”new covenant” despite our past unfaithfulness. Such is the scale of God’s boundless mercy. Unlike the previous one made with Moses when God leads the Israelites “by hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt”, this “new covenant” will not be broken by our stubbornness and slowness of heart. This covenant signifies a more intimate relationship between God and His peoples, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33). Such is a grandiose claim – though the language used is that of a political alliance between the conqueror and the conquered nation – God has adopted the Israelites, and us, to be His very own; as one may proclaim the absolute steadfast love to one’s beloved. Just as God has “inscribed [you and I] on the palms of [His] hands”, the law is henceforth written on our hearts instead of stone tablets (Is 49:16). We shall know God in our heart and soul. God opens our heart by opening His to us first so that we may cultivate a genuine “desire to speak to the heart of Jesus and be heard” (Nouwen, Henri. Heart Speaks to Heart: Three Prayers to Jesus, 13). Nouwen recognizes through prayers that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. The “new covenant” invites us to know God more intimately in our heart. Together with the Psalmist we pray for “a clean heart” and “a new and right spirit” so that we may know our loving God more intimately and be strengthened to freely lose our lives as we accompany Christ along His road to Calvary.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus opens his own heart as he exposes his vulnerability to his closest friends, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say, – ‘Father, save me from this hour’?” Though Jesus’ heart is torn, he accepts his mission of love so that he may “draw all people” to himself (Jn 12:27, 32). Even as Jesus admits his fear and pain, he encourages his followers, “do not let your heart be troubled” (Jn 14:1).

As our Lenten preparation approaches its conclusion, let us offer our brokenness to God; let us open our heart to the heart of Jesus in prayer:

My heart is little, fearful, and very timid. It will always be so. But you say, “Come to my heart. My heart is gentle and humble and very broken like yours. Do not be afraid. Come and let your heart find rest in mine and trust that all will be well.” I want to come, Jesus, and be with you. Here I am, Lord, take my heart and let it become a heart filled with your love.
(Nouwen, Henri. Heart Speaks to Heart: Three Prayers to Jesus, 56-57)

Susanna Mak

Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.


乙年 四旬期第五主日



乙年 四旬期第五主日

耶肋米亞先知書 31:31-34

看,日子將到——上主的斷語——我必要與以色列家和猶大家,訂立新約;不像昔日,我握住他們的手,引他們出離埃及時,與他們的祖先,所訂立的盟約。雖然,我是他們的夫君,但他們已自行破壞了我這盟約——上主的斷語。 在那些日子之後,我願與以色列家訂立盟約——上主的斷語——就是:我要將我的法律,放在他們的肺腑裡,寫在他們的心頭上;我要作他們的天主,他們要作我的人民。 那時,誰也不再教訓自己的近人或兄弟,說:「你們該認識上主,」因為不論大小,人人都必認識我——上主的斷語——因為我要寬恕他們的過犯,不再記憶他們的罪惡。

希伯來人書 5:7-9


聖若望福音 12:20-33

那時候,在那些上來過節、崇拜天主的人當中,有些希臘人。他們來到加里肋亞貝特賽達人斐理伯前,請求他說:「先生!我們想拜見耶穌。」斐理伯就去告訴安德肋,然後,安德肋和斐理伯便來告訴耶穌。 耶穌開口向他們說:「人子要受光榮的時辰到了。我實實在在告訴你們:一粒麥子,如果不落在地裡死了,仍只是一粒;如果死了,才結出許多子粒來。愛惜自己性命的,必要喪失性命;在現世憎恨自己性命的,必要保存性命,進入永生。誰若事奉我,就當跟隨我;這樣,我在那裡,我的僕人也要在那裡;誰若事奉我,我父必要尊重他。 「現在我心神煩亂,我可說什麼呢?我說:父啊!救我脫離這時辰吧?但我正是為此,才到了這時辰。父啊!光榮你的名吧!」 當時有聲音來自天上:「我已光榮了我的名字,我還要再光榮它。」在場聽見的群眾,便說:「這是打雷。」另有人說:「是天使同他說話。」耶穌回答說:「這聲音不是為我而來,而是為你們。現在,就是這世界應受審判的時候,現在這世界的元首,就要被趕出去;至於我,當我從地上被舉起來時,便要吸引眾人來歸向我。」 他說這話,是表明他要以怎樣的死而死。

Susanna Mak

(James Horner and Will Jennings寫 “My Heart will Go on”我心永恆》)

誰能忘記席琳狄翁 Celine Dion 這首憂傷而美麗,令人縈繞心間的歌曲?歌曲痛惜失去的愛情,同時也認定一顆永恆不變的心的力量。「心」字面上是人體一個重要器官,在文學、音樂或流行文化領域裏,「心」已超越了字面上的意思,往往被喻為代表愛、精神或我們存在的中心,更遑論「心」時常被商業化,被包裝成向大眾推銷的商品。「心」的象徵性價值的確不能否定;大多數人都會認同「心」在文化、感情和靈性方面的重要性,遠遠超過真實的「心」,一個輸送血液的器官。

在本主日的讀經,「心」的形象帶我們進入天主廣寬高深的慈悲,以及我們得救的奧秘中。耶肋米亞先知寫道,天主的法律是寫在「他們的心頭上」(耶 31:33) ;《聖詠》的作者懇求一顆「純潔的心」(詠51:12);聖保祿描述耶穌如何懷著悲痛的心情,「以大聲哀號和眼淚,獻上了祈禱和懇求」(希5:7) ;以及在《若望福音》裏,當耶穌期待著祂的苦難和最終要為我們犧牲時,祂承認祂「心神煩亂」(若12:27)。

正如席琳狄翁柔聲低唱:「你再一次打開心扉」,天主不計較我們從前的過犯,祂打開心扉,召喚我們進入「新盟約」。天主的慈悲就是如此的無限。這新盟約不像天主昔日與梅瑟訂立的盟約─「握住他們的手,引他們出離埃及 」─不會被我們的固執和怠慢的心所破壞。這新約象徵著天主與祂的選民間一個更親密的關係,「我要作他們的天主,他們要作我的人民」(耶31:33) ,這是一個何等偉大的聲明─雖然用詞帶著侵略者和被征服民族之間的政治聯盟色彩─天主領養了以色列子民及我們,作為祂自己的子女;就如一個人對自己的至愛,宣告絕對堅定不移的愛。由於天主「把[你和我]刻在[衪]的手掌上」,今後,法律是寫在我們的心頭上,而不是石板上 (依49:16)。我們必須在心神裏認識天主。天主首先將自己的心為我們開啟,使我們的心打開,讓我們能培養出一份「與基督談心和被基督聆聽」的真誠渴望(盧雲神父著《心與心的談話:給耶穌的三個禱告,13 》) 。盧雲神父認為,透過祈禱去認識天主,與只是認識天主是不同的。「新盟約」邀請我們在心內更親密地認識天主。我們連同《聖詠》作者為求得「一顆純潔的心」及一份「堅固的精神」一起祈禱,好讓我們能更親密地認識慈愛的天主,並在往加爾瓦略山的苦路上陪伴基督時,堅強自己,好能隨時捨棄自己的性命。

在《若望福音》,耶穌打開自己的心扉,把自己最脆弱的一面顯露給衪最親近的朋友,「現在我心神煩亂,我可說什麼呢?父啊!救我脫離這時辰罷?」雖然耶穌的心已被撕裂,祂仍接受了愛的使命,好讓祂能「吸引眾人」歸向祂 (若12:27, 32)。縱使耶穌承認自己的恐懼和痛苦,祂仍鼓勵祂的門徒說:「你們心裏不要煩亂」(若14:1)。

當四旬期的準備接近尾聲時,讓我們把自己破碎的一切獻給天主;讓我們在禱告中打開我們的心, 與耶穌的心一起:




Susanna Mak

Susanna在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。


乙年 四旬期第五主日



乙年 四旬期第五主日

耶肋米亚先知书 31:31-34


希伯来人书 5:7-9


圣若望福音 12:20-33

那时候,在那些上来过节、崇拜天主的人当中,有些希腊人。他们来到加里肋亚贝特赛达人斐理伯前,请求他说:「先生!我们想拜见耶稣。」斐理伯就去告诉安德肋,然后,安德肋和斐理伯便来告诉耶稣。耶稣开口向他们说:「人子要受光荣的时辰到了。我实实在在告诉你们:一粒麦子,如果不落在地里死了,仍只是一粒;如果死了,才结出许多子粒来。爱惜自己性命的,必要丧失性命;在现世憎恨自己性命的,必要保存性命,进入永生。谁若事奉我,就当跟随我;这样,我在那里,我的仆人也要在那里;谁若事奉我,我父必要尊重他。 「现在我心神烦乱,我可说什么呢?我说:父啊!救我脱离这时辰吧?但我正是为此,才到了这时辰。父啊!光荣你的名吧!」 当时有声音来自天上:「我已光荣了我的名字,我还要再光荣它。」在场听见的群众,便说:「这是打雷。」另有人说:「是天使同他说话。」耶稣回答说:「这声音不是为我而来,而是为你们。现在,就是这世界应受审判的时候,现在这世界的元首,就要被赶出去;至于我,当我从地上举起来时,便要吸引众人来归向我。」 他说这话,是表明他要以怎样的死而死。

Susanna Mak

(James Horner and Will Jennings写 “My Heart will Go on”《我心永恒》)

谁能忘记席琳狄翁 Celine Dion 这首忧伤而美丽,令人萦绕心间的歌曲?歌曲痛惜失去的爱情,同时也认定一颗永恒不变的心的力量。 「心」字面上是人体一个重要器官,在文学、音乐或流行文化领域里,「心」已超越了字面上的意思,往往被喻为代表爱、精神或我们存在的中心,更遑论「心」时常被商业化,被包装成向大众推销的商品。 「心」的象征性价值的确不能否定;大多数人都会认同「心」在文化、感情和灵性方面的重要性,远远超过真实的「心」,一个输送血液的器官。

在本主日的读经,「心」的形象带我们进入天主广宽高深的慈悲,以及我们得救的奥秘中。耶肋米亚先知写道,天主的法律是写在「他们的心头上」(耶31:33) ;《圣咏》的作者恳求一颗「纯洁的心」(咏51:12);圣保禄描述耶稣如何怀着悲痛的心情,「以大声哀号和眼泪,献上了祈祷和恳求」(希5:7) ;以及在《若望福音》里,当耶稣期待着祂的苦难和最终要为我们牺牲时,祂承认祂「心神烦乱」(若12:27)。

正如席琳狄翁柔声低唱:「你再一次打开心扉」,天主不计较我们从前的过犯,祂打开心扉,召唤我们进入「新盟约」。天主的慈悲就是如此的无限。这新盟约不像天主昔日与梅瑟订立的盟约─「握住他们的手,引他们出离埃及 」─不会被我们的固执和怠慢的心所破坏。这新约象征着天主与祂的选民间一个更亲密的关系,「我要作他们的天主,他们要作我的人民」(耶31:33) ,这是一个何等伟大的声明─虽然用词带着侵略者和被征服民族之间的政治联盟色彩─天主领养了以色列子民及我们,作为祂自己的子女;就如一个人对自己的至爱,宣告绝对坚定不移的爱。由于天主「把[你和我]刻在[衪]的手掌上」,今后,法律是写在我们的心头上,而不是石板上 (依49:16)。我们必须在心神里认识天主。天主首先将自己的心为我们开启,使我们的心打开,让我们能培养出一份「与基督谈心和被基督聆听」的真诚渴望(卢云神父着《心与心的谈话:给耶稣的三个祷告,13 》) 。卢云神父认为,透过祈祷去认识天主,与只是认识天主是不同的。 「新盟约」邀请我们在心内更亲密地认识天主。我们连同《圣咏》作者为求得「一颗纯洁的心」及一份「坚固的精神」一起祈祷,好让我们能更亲密地认识慈爱的天主,并在往加尔瓦略山的苦路上陪伴基督时,坚强自己,好能随时舍弃自己的性命。

在《若望福音》,耶稣打开自己的心扉,把自己最脆弱的一面显露给衪最亲近的朋友,「现在我心神烦乱,我可说什么呢?父啊!救我脱离这时辰罢?」虽然耶稣的心已被撕裂,祂仍接受了爱的使命,好让祂能「吸引众人」归向祂(若12:27, 32)。纵使耶稣承认自己的恐惧和痛苦,祂仍鼓励祂的门徒说:「你们心里不要烦乱」(若14:1)。

当四旬期的准备接近尾声时,让我们把自己破碎的一切献给天主;让我们在祷告中打开我们的心, 与耶稣的心一起:




Susanna Mak