5th Sunday of Lent Deacon: Rev Liam Dunne

Published on March 15, 2024

John 12:20-33 All people

Did you notice that the Greeks in today’s Gospel never actually go to meet Jesus?  They come to Jerusalem as travellers, outsiders, hoping to see Jesus in person.  But when Philip and Andrew relay the request, Jesus began to talk about how his ‘hour’ is coming.  It’s the last we hear of the Greeks, who disappear from the story altogether, yet they are important.  They indicate that word about Jesus is spreading, and, more significantly, they prompt Jesus to reveal that, when his hour comes, he will draw ‘all people’ to himself.  In the space of a few short verses, we go from a brief mention of a group of foreigners seeking Jesus, to Jesus making it clear that his saving mission is for all people, all nations.  If you seek Jesus, this is what you will find.  There is no suggestion that some groups are ‘in’ and others ‘out’.  All are included, all are invited, all are welcome.

As we continue our journey through Lent, we listen carefully to these words of Jesus.  He came for everyone and wishes to draw everyone to himself.  None of us is more important or deserving than anyone else: all are deserving of dignity.  We have the opportunity today to reflect on the type of society we want to create.  Is it a place of indiscriminate welcome?  Are all people treated equally, or are there groups of people who are regarded and treated as ‘outsiders’?  Many Western countries have seen a concerning rise in anti-refugees, sentiment.  In Ireland, in addition to protests and tension over the provision of accommodation, there were threats to burn down a hotel housing refugees, and a violent attack on a homeless migrant camp.  Most of us would struggle to imagine how it feels to be the target of such attacks.  Today’s Gospel offers an alternative vision of a world in which all are equally respected and cherished.

Copyright © Triona Doherty & Jane Mellet, 2023.  The Deep End: A Journey with the Sunday Gospels in the Year of Mark.  (Dublin: Messenger Publications 2023


‘When God knocks at the door in the form of the migrant dependent on our kindness, there can be no ambiguity: welcoming the stranger is not only our solemn duty and noble tradition, it is God’s call to discover our true selves.

Archbishop Dermott Farrell