Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Hour of Glory Has Come

On_this Holy Thursday evening, we commemorate Jesus establishing the gift of himself in the Eucharist and embarking upon the final path leading to his redemptive suffering and death.

In the time leading up to these events, Jesus spoke prophetically to all the people about the mystery of what was to take place.

Jesus said:
"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" (John 12:23-25).

I don't want to take any edge off the impact of this dichotomy between "love" and "hate" in relation to our lives. But this is far from any kind of dismissal of the goodness of the present world and the responsibilities entrusted to us within it.

Rather, the saying of Jesus starts from the basic and inescapable perception of any human wisdom, namely that all things in this life pass away. We are made for an inexhaustible fulfillment, and nothing in this world is enough. We keep grasping at this life; we keep clamoring for the food that does not satisfy.

And I am much reminded in these days of the tremendous fragility of life. Sooner or later everything ends. Quickly or slowly, life slips away and we are all sown like grains of wheat in the earth.

But Jesus doesn't only speak about what passes away. Jesus speaks of something else, something new, good news.

The good news is not an evasion of death. It doesn't make death easy. It doesn't make suffering and dying easy. The good news is the promise of "abundant fruit," the promise of "eternal life" which surpasses all our measure because God himself comes to meet us.

He is with us in the ultimate humiliation of suffering and death. He has embraced and made his own every moment of the personal suffering and the personal death of each one of us. This is what he accomplishes in his "hour."

Knowing and embracing all that was to come, Jesus called it the hour of glory. This is the source and sustenance of our inexhaustible hope.

He is the source and sustenance of our hope.

Jesus Christ.

"'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" (John 12:31-33).