5th SUNDAY OF LENT

     

 

Gospel Jn 12: 20-33     
 ‘Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified'
Time passes. A long car ride as I made yesterday back to Bonnevaux, every daily cycle
from morning to night, a educational course, a marriage and parenting, a whole life-cycle.
At the end of every period of time we reach a new precipice. Every end is the same end,
another taste of death. No going back. A future only present to faith. Jesus saw and
understood his approaching end  – more fully than we do.
 
I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
 
This parable of such simple beauty conveys the whole truth of what Jesus saw in his own
approaching death. Because it contains the whole meaning of the Easter cycle, it captures
the message and power of the entire Gospel. It is the Good News, the Evangelion. The
single word ‘if’ prevents it from being just a statement. It is also a warning and an
invitation. If we refuse to die, we will not be resurrected. If we die willingly, there is no
doubt that we will awaken in a field of life that is the new harvest.
 
Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for
the eternal life. If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be
there too.
 
The certainty and clarity in these words is hard to accept. They speak the hardness of
letting oneself die, our attachments, dreams, hopes, all the negative and imaginary
projections we have constructed. In the End, everything must go and at some point we see
that we must willingly let it go. We might ‘rage against the dying of the light’ for a while
but eventually when we get tired of that, we are convinced the willing laying down,
letting go of our life is Hope would be hope for the wrong thing. Even love would be love
of the wrong thing. Facing the End of all things is the beginning of service to the one
who faced his End and, in doing so, created an unbreakable bond between us and himself.
This bond becomes more real as we face our End willingly. But who serves whom? The
servant follows the master. Yet, Jesus follows us to the End so we do not enter it alone.
 
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him. Now my soul is troubled. What shall I
say: Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this very reason that I have come to
this hour.
 
The point of no escape is deeply troubling but also the moment of self-acceptance, self-
knowledge and liberation from one’s self by embracing one’s destiny. In the
powerlessness of the End we are ‘honoured’ beyond anything to be imagined. Not a
reward or award but the ‘honour’ of knowing ourselves truly - and finally always - loved .
Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2021
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