MARCH 21. LENT. WK 5. SUN. JN. 12. 20-33
Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them:
‘Now the hour has come
for the Son of Man to be glorified.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
Now my soul is troubled.
What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name!’
A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.
‘Now sentence is being passed on this world;
now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I shall draw all men to myself.’
By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.
On the eve of Holy Week, and the eve of Christ’s time on earth he offers us a major teaching, namely; - “unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this worldwill keep it for the eternal life”.
Because of the approaching Passion it is easy to interpret this teaching as referring to one’s death, but it is much broader than that. It refers to the renunciation of our desires; - in order, instead, to do the Will of God; - and attitude to life that requires us to “die” to our desires!
By his death on a Cross, Jesus is illustrating just how far one has to go in order to follow this teaching; - which, at its heart, is a teaching on how to Love God; - or how we must put God before everything else; - the central lesson Christ became a man to teach and bear witness to.
The coming Passion has a threefold purpose. First; - to make Reparation for sin; - Second; - to show the depth of God’s Love for us; - and Third; - to invite us to imitate his death; - by “dying” to our own desires, now, while on earth, in order to bear witness to our Love of God; - “Anyone who hates his life; - in this world; - will keep it for the eternal life”.