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Diocese of Rockville Centre

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT 2015 Print E-mail

It I the preparation time for Passover and Jerusalem is filled with people from Galilee and Bethlehem, Judea and Samaria, from all the centers of the world. From other parts they come including some Greeks, Jews from a Greek culture. They come for Passover but most all they come to know something about this man called Jesus. To Philip, who speaks Greek, they say: Sir we would like to see Jesus. The word was passed on from Philip to Andrew and then to Jesus. And Jesus understands: The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified! This is the password, the question he has been waiting to hear from those beyond Jerusalem, Jews from other places, other cultures of the known world. These Greeks desire one thing: to see Jesus. For then and for Greek culture, ďto SeeĒ means to come to know him, understand, get to the heart of who he is. They want to see and know Jesus.

Think for a moment what Jerusalem must be like, the hustle and bustle of preparing for the greatest holiday of the year! To prepare for Passover and Passover in the center of Judaism, in teeming Jerusalem. There everyone is talking about HIM. Who is he? What is He about? Is he the Messiah? Jesus! Pharisees and leaders listen to the talk and conclude with disgust: The whole world is going after Him. The world might but we will not. We will stay with our own ideas, comfortable in our own positions of power and prestige. But it is too late. The hour has come!

The grain of wheat must fall and die. But for those who believe, those who want to know, Jesus has a promise: If the grain of wheat dies it bears much fruit. He knows that and HE WANTS US TO KNOW THAT SO THAT WE MIGHT BELIEVE AND WHAT WE SEE HIM DO WE ALSO ARE CALLED TO DO. Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
The grain fallen into the ground will bear fruit. The grain who is Godís son will fall at the hands of this world but He will be lifted up and his being lifted up on the cross will be his Glory.

Jesus knows this. The bustling crowd, the leaders cannot grasp it. So when the voice comes from the Father, they canít figure it out. An angel? Thunder? Are those words? Threat or Promise? NO! It is a voice, the voice of the Father but not for the sake of Jesus. It is a voice for us! It was not a voice to make Jesus feel good. It is not for my sake but for yours! Jesus says. Yours so that you can let your eyes be opened and the scales fall from your hearts. Yours so that you might see him lifted up on the cross and be with those He and he alone will draw to himself.

My friends, God spoke to the prophets in former times and in diverse ways. But he never spoke to them as His Son and to us through His Son. Among the great prophets of old, Jeremiah reveals to the people of his day a promise from God they never lived to see. Their descendants saw it but they could not understand that the hour had come; the messiah was there among them. The leaders of their world then, as ours today are too, tied up with their own power, their own worlds, their power, their prestige had no desire for a Messiah. They sought then and they seek now to exploit, to take advantage, to increase their own control, to make us all subject to the State, to big government and the forces of profit, pleasure, prestige and, above all, power. They do not want us to hear Godís voice. They want to turn us to from Godís message, Godís Son to their false messages of this world and this worldís nebulous distractions.

But Jesus is constant. He knows the Father and the Father knows him. And to all who believe He brings them to the Father. Destroying the hold of this world on them and us and helping us, like the Greeks, so to know Jesus that we embrace him and embrace his way that does not condemn us but saves us. This is not an easy road. But it is the road to salvation. This does not promise us riches but it does give us all we need for life. This may at times seem lonely because the rest of the world thinks we are the crazies, the fools who look for meaning that is more than this world. But we are never alone. Like those Greeks we live with Philip and Andrew and Peter and millions upon millions who have seen and will see Jesus lifted up! Seeing him we see God. We see Jesus. Seeing him on the cross we will have life. He learned obedience from what he suffered. He became perfect in his human life by dying. And that death was not degradation and humiliation. It was His glory! And for us it is the source of eternal salvation because we have learned to believe in Him! See him now: Carrying the cross, the beautiful symbolic trophy of his triumph! Yes! It is glory! Hail, O Cross, our Only Hope! Hail, o Tree of life, upon hung the Savior of the world! Hail O Blessed of the Father! By dying you destroyed our life. Make us your own now and forever!