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Sunday, March 29, 2009

5th Sunday of Lent

In today's Gospel (John 12:20-33) 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.'"

Just to read this much of the Gospel gives us pause for reflection. We are like the Greeks and want to see Jesus. That is a good desire, but it means that we need to realize that we, too, must die to ourselves to bear fruit. Jesus says, "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."

Then Jesus says, :"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 that an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said to them. "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.

We are left wondering what those Greeks thought. They had not only seen Jesus but perhaps heard the Father's voice. They certainly heard Jesus tell them that this was the time of judgment on this world; they heard him speak of his drawing all to himself when he would be lifted up from the earth. If they really wanted to see Jesus because they were seeking more, they received a great deal in a short time. Are we convinced that we must be like the grain of wheat and die to produce fruit?

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