Readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:8-14; Luke 20:9-20

Have you ever had trouble seeing something that was right before your eyes – a desired dish of food from the refrigerator or a tool you needed in your shop? “How did I miss that?” you wonder. “It was right there in front of me the whole time!”

Sunday’s readings point out a spiritual problem that afflicts even those with 20/20 vision. We fail to see what God is doing in our midst because we have trained our eyes to focus on the wrong things. Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants condemns the religious leaders for failing to recognize him as God’s Son. Their eyes were so set on building up earthly glory they failed to see the Cornerstone when he appeared (Lk 20).

Likewise, the apostle Paul warns us not to focus too much on outward markers of success (trophies, degrees, big salaries) as he once did, but to set our eyes on the heavenly prize of our final resurrection. Our worth as human beings comes not from how successful we have been, but from our union with Christ through faith (Ph 3).

In the Old Testament reading, the LORD declares that He is about to do “a new thing” for His people – bringing life-giving water to what was once dry desert. Then He poses the question, “Do you not perceive it?” He was speaking of Christ who is our Living Water. When we drink from him in faith, we gain eternal life (Is 43).