The Hour and the Glory
The readings for this Sunday’s mass present us again with the paradox of the cross. For our reflection last week, we gazed on the crucifix, where we encountered the gory effects of our sins on the crucified body of Jesus. Concurrently, we experienced the grace of salvation through Christ’s absorption of our sin guilt through his liberating death. What a mystery of faith! In the liturgy of the word this Sunday, we hear Jeremiah speaks about the days in the future when God will forgive our evildoing and remember our sins no more (Jer. 31:34). The Letter to the Hebrews describes the fulfillment of this prophecy “when Christ Jesus in the flesh offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears” and “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:7-9). The moment, the day, the hour of glory is finally here for us to see. To see is to believe.
With the Greek converts who came to Philip, moved by faith, we seek to meet and know Jesus, who presents himself in the hour of his death as the source of salvation for all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. Using the metaphor of a grain of wheat that must fall to the ground and die to produce fruits, Jesus makes it clear that the way of the cross is the way to glory: no cross, no glory. Like a grain of wheat, Jesus will die, but he will be lifted up from the earth and “draw everyone to” himself. (John 12:32). We have come to see Jesus at the hour of his glory. We shall behold both his death and his glory when he is lifted up from the earth and draws all of us to himself.
Jesus shows us we are loved and forgiven by his death on the cross. In his death on the cross, he is glorified. We have come to see Jesus in his hour of glory. We have come to receive hope for a new life. At the same time, we are challenged to be like Christ, to die to self, like a grain of wheat, to fall to the ground and die, to lose our lives in him to gain eternal life. How do we plan to die to selves to become fruitful? Are we willing to enter into his hour to share in his glory? Think about these as we get ready next week for the celebration of the passion of the Lord.
Wishing you a Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord this week.
Fr. Bernard, OP