Ps 51:3-4, 12-15
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
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.
Good News Reflection: Do you feel troubled?
In our desire to trust God and follow Jesus wherever he leads us, it’s not a sin to feel troubled about it.
Yes, we do have to be willing to lose our lives (i.e., our own agendas, our own desires, our own ideas on what we should do with our time, etc.) so that we can unite ourselves to Christ and his mission. However, we don’t have to like the loss.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading shows us that Jesus felt troubled by the sacrifices he would have to make. Yes, even Jesus himself felt troubled! And the Father glorified him.
Jesus came to earth to reveal God’s ways and God’s love and lead us to heaven. Now we, his followers, are called, commissioned, and prepared by the Sacraments to reveal God’s ways and God’s love to those around us, so that Jesus can lead them to heaven. That is the mission, the purpose of being Church, for all of us — laity as well as clergy.
The Sacrament of Baptism initiates us into this calling. Confirmation commissions us to do it. Confession enables us to do it better. Marriage and Holy Orders give us a venue for perfecting it. The Anointing of the Sick converts our illnesses into opportunities to bear witness to Christ’s Passion. And the Eucharist unites us so fully to the Passion of Christ that we become what we are called to do.
This is our everyday ministry of evangelization: We love others as Jesus loves them, we do for them what Jesus would like to do for them, and we spread the good news about this as a continuation of the ministry of Jesus.
Often, this involves making difficult sacrifices and doing good to those who reject us and scourge us and crucify us or in any other way cause us to suffer. This is our unity with Christ, our Passion. We’re not supposed to like it, but we are supposed to do it.
The Father honors us for this. Just like he glorified Jesus, he honors us with his compassion, his rewards, and his approval.
It’s okay to feel troubled by the challenges we face in our mission. What keeps us going is knowing that God is raising us up. There is always resurrection after crucifixion.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What troubles are you facing? Where is Jesus in this? Is he ahead of you, leading the way? Are you are following him? Rest with him for a little while and tell him your complaints. It’s okay to get angry at him, if that’s how you feel, as long as it’s kept private, between you and him, so that it doesn’t give the wrong witness to the people around you.
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How do you feel hearing Jesus admit, “I am troubled now”? Does it make you more aware of his humanness? When you make sacrifices for others, how does this connect you more closely to the human heart of Jesus? How does the Father honor you as you serve in Christ’s mission?
Father, one grace I ask of You: That I never resist dying to myself for Your sake because that death will bear much fruit and lead me to the eternal life You have promised me! I want to be a grain of wheat in Your hands. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica