Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
John 12:20-33 for the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
Today, Christ gives us a strong, strange and violent lesson.
Like a grain of wheat, we are to bring forth much fruit by falling and dying.
If we love our life in this world, we lose it.
If we hate our life in this world, we preserve it for eternal life.
Christ does not tell us to destroy our life in this world.
Rather, folded into his words today is the truth that we may preserve our life in this world if we love eternal life more than merely life in this world.
The truth is that our life in this world is folded into eternal life, and that our eternal life is folded into our life in this world.
In today’s Gospel, Christ says whoever hates his life in this world will preserve IT for eternal life.
We are to hate not life itself.
Rather, we are to hate a life that ignores eternity.
At present, in this world, our lives are in disorder.
Our human nature is in disorder, out of harmony with itself.
It is human nature to have a body, a reasoning mind, free will and feelings.
These— body, mind, will and feeling— do not always line up with each other, and never do so perfectly or permanently.
That failure— that lack of order, harmony and peace— that lack is something we naturally and rightfully hate.
In the beginning, God did not make us lacking order, harmony and peace.
The original sin robbed us of order, harmony and peace.
In Christ, who is Truly God and Truly Human, our nature is created anew, justified, rectified, straightened out, put in order and harmony in body, mind, will and emotion.
Yet, order and harmony will not fully wake up in us until our own resurrection and only if in this world we have hated sin and the disordered results of sin.
Christ by word and by lifelong example shows us how to hate sin and the results of sin, how to live and die in this world so that we gain and fulfill eternal life.
Christ handed himself over for the glory of the Father and for the true, eternal good of humanity.
Glory to the Father and Goodness for Humanity!
That is Christ’s mission and ours.
Christ the Son of the Father laid down his life and gave his blood that we— in body, mind, will and feeling— that we may have life in fullness and for ever.
Now in his Eucharist, he hands over to us his Body and Blood to be the food and drink that are the beginning of our eternal life.
Turn. Love. Repeat.