“The hour has come”. These words capsulize the final emblem of the gospel this fifth Sunday of Lent. The ultimate time for Jesus to face his death is gearing nearer. His crucifixion and death is the only pathway to his resurrection and ascension. But among the three signs of the gospel, death is more understood as reality that everyone has to face. It is always a painful human experience. Even Jesus was perspiring with blood as he anticipated the painful end destined for him. Thus, by looking back at the death of Jesus we also learn to understand our end. The mental suffering is unimaginable, yet we can relate to it in our daily sacrifices for our loved ones. The sufferings becomes a routine that makes us struggles in gasping the essence of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension after his cruel death. The afterlife can only be a courageously faced with faith after all, no one has come from the tomb and lived again. And the more that no one has seen a person who ascended to heaven. Thus to hold on to the teaching of resurrection and ascension is purely faith.
John, in his gospel is depicting the “Jesus” who is willing to lay down his life in total surrender to his destiny. This is the essence of discipleship, which we are all called to be. The gospel is telling us to face our “final hour” for it is the only way to be one with Christ in the glory of his resurrection and the ascension.
The Lord knows our fears and struggles by heart that is why to believe by heart that is why he continues to remind us to become fruitful up to this “final” hour. Jesus does not want us to focus on his death, but on the glory that awaits beyond death. By showing that he overcame the power of darkness, the light of his resurrection will envelop every heart to face the “final hour” with total surrender. Thus in the gospel, he spurred his disciples to become fruitful by having constant connection with him like the vine and its branches.
The seed has to die and fall into the earth before it germinates into a new plant and eventually bears fruits as nature created it. In the same way we are called to die from our indifference; to fall into the ground, and soiled to remind us that we are from the dust and that we must humble ourselves in order to bring our union with God into perfection. We must die from our indifference towards the spiritual salvation offered to us by Jesus by feeding the hungry, tending his flock that are scattered and wounded in the periphery. We need to learn to abandon our own “final” hour to him who chose to offer first his life to ease all our fears and doubts in adhering to God’s promise.
We don’t need special audience with Jesus like the Greeks in the gospel for he has been with us from the onset of our life. Rather, we have to look into the core of our being where Jesus has been gently impelling us to move on in our quest to be with him in the house of his father. There is no other special and precious time we could think other than what Jesus has been spending patiently with us every day up to the “final hour” of our existence.
Lord we humbly ask your grace to make us brave enough to die every day from our self-centeredness. May we learn to humble ourselves as we look at your cross - the sacrificial emblem of your unconditional love for all of us. Amen.