I Will Glorify Again

I Will Glorify Again March 17, 2024

Sunlight filtering through clouds
image via Pixabay

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John:

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.

 

Some strangers wanted to see Jesus.

What do you do when strangers want to see Jesus?

The Greeks were strangers. “Greek,” in this context, means “Someone who isn’t Jewish.” They weren’t God’s chosen people; they were other people, from somewhere else. Other people from somewhere else had been persecuting God’s chosen people for as long as anybody could remember. Other people from somewhere else were bad people. These bad people had come into town for the Passover, and now they wanted to see Jesus.

Philip was from Bethsaida, in Galilee. Galilee isn’t a fine place to be from either, but at least he isn’t a Greek. The Greeks address him politely, and he mulls it over. He goes to Andrew to ask for advice. Andrew mulls it over, and the two go to Jesus and explain things.

Jesus is thrilled. This is what He’s been waiting for. “Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified.” 

Now– now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified. Now, and not before. Now, when bad people from other places come to seek Jesus, is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified. When people we don’t like seek Jesus, the Son of Man is glorified. When people we think are below us seek Jesus, the Son of Man is glorified. When people who sin differently from us seek Jesus, the Son of Man is glorified. Not when we decide they’ve repented enough, but now.

And then Jesus goes on, in the most surprising way.

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.

Death is not optional. Grains of wheat always die. That’s what a grain of wheat does. It can’t stay on the stalk indefinitely. Either it falls to the ground and dies, or it’s made into bread and eaten and dies. Jesus is about to do both.

Now is the Son of Man glorified: now, when He is about to die. Not because death is good but because this death will bear fruit. Because living the life we have to live and dying when it comes to an end is inevitable, but it has meaning now. Because everyone who desperately tries to hold onto their material life will die anyway, but those who let their death be one with Christ’s death will find a new life. Because everyone who clings to the familiar life they know will surely lose it, but the ones who accept the strange new things that God is doing will find something much better.

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.”

And then there was a wondrous sign: A voice from Heaven replied, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” 

The crowd there heard it. Everyone heard it. Philip and Andrew who came from Galilee heard it. The Greeks, those strangers who had heard of Jesus and asked to see Him, heard it. All heard it together, but nobody understood. It must have been thunder. Maybe it was an angel.

“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 what type of death He would die, but nobody understood.

Being lifted up from the earth isn’t optional. Nobody stays on earth forever. The death He chooses is the death that gathers all people to Himself.

Whoever has ears, let him hear.

 

 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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