“THE HOUR HAS COME FOR THE SON OF MAN TO BE GLORIFIED” (John 12:23)
????Jer 31:31-34; Ps 51:3-4, 12-12, 14-15 (R.v.12a); Heb 5:7-9; John 12:20-33
With the Holy Week just some days away, the readings of today try to expose us to the extent and meaning of the Passion of Christ. At the thought of this passion, Jesus was troubled at heart (John 12:27). Yet, it was for this that he came. And so, he declared, probably with a sigh of fulfilment, The hour has come (John 12:23).
What hour is Jesus talking about? He made reference to that hour while he was replying his mothers plea for a miracle at Cana in Galilee, My hour has not yet come (John 2;4). But he did inform the Samaritan woman that that hour would be a moment of purification and unification of worship in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:21-23). To the official that met him at Capernaum, it was an hour of healing for his son (cf. John 4:53).
However, that hour would be an hour of suffering and death for Jesus (cf. John 7:30, 8:20, 13:1) and of persecution for his followers (John 16:2ff). But it would not end in pain; it would be an hour of glory (cf. John 12:23, 17:1). To crown it all, it is an hour that gives new life (cf. John 5:25-28, 12:24).
That hour of life-giving is one connection that we see between the Gospel and the First Reading. In that First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord is going to make an entirely new covenant with the people. In the old covenant, God chose the people of Israel (see Deut 7:6) and made the covenant with them as a people and the Law was written in a tablet of stone for them. In this new covenant, all peoples would be involved. Isaiah had spoken of that time when the people would say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord (Isa 2:3).
And so, the visit of the Greeks in the Gospel was a sign that that hour has come for all to be one as Jesus later prayed (cf. John 17:20-21). By his death and resurrection which he talked of in terms of the seed dying in order to produce fruits (John 12:24), he would form an entirely new community in which there will be no more separation between the Jews and gentiles, slaves and free born (Gal 3:28).
That is the benefit of Jesus suffering and death for us as the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews noted in the Second Reading. It is a moment of grace and we are called to make good use of the opportunity it offers. We are called to purify ourselves and live righteously so that we will have a share in that new covenant and be part of that new community which Jesus forms with his precious blood.
May God help us to respond positively to this call till the end of our lives and reap the good fruits therein through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have a blessed Sunday spent under the shadow of God’s glory. Peace be with you.