First Reading: Jer 31:31-34; Psalm: 51. R. v. 12b; Second Reading: Heb 5:7-9; Gospel: Jn 12:20-33



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

When we see our death coming; this can be frightening especially a torturous and humiliating death. Crucifixion is an example. It is a method of capital punishment meted out on criminals and enemies of the state commonly practiced by the Persians, Carthaginians, and Romans. It is a kind of execution that was torturous, degrading, humiliating, and barbaric. Victims of crucifixion are left nailed to the cross to scream and writhe in pain for a couple of days till they die; so that passersby could see for themselves what awaits them when culpable. Their bodies are left on the cross so that birds and wild creature could feed on them. Crucifixion therefore serves as a dissuasive spectacle to forewarn the people from crime and rebellion.

When Andrew and Philip brought words to Jesus that some Greeks wish to see him, Jesus said; “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified” (v. 23). On several occasions prior to this time, this very hour was hinted on. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus told his mother that his “hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). On few occasions, the Jews sought to arrest Jesus but could not “because his hour had not yet come” (Jn 7:30; 8:20). And along the line, Jesus would predict that this hour was indeed coming (Jn 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28-29). But suddenly, the wait seems over as Jesus spills the beans in the gospel of today – “The hour has come  . . .” (v. 23).

What is this long awaited hour that suddenly came? It is the hour of Christ’s death. And the hour of Christ’s death on the cross is simultaneously his hour of glorification. But how can the death of Christ at the same time be his hour of glory when he died in a most painful and humiliating way? Is there anything to take glory in pain, humiliation and suffering? Christ’s glory is not in the nature but in the fruit of his death. The nature of Christ’s death is cruel; it reveals the evil in man. But the fruit of Christ’s death gives life; it reveals what sacrificial love can do. However, sacrificial love is not devoid of giving up; giving up something that would cost us a lot, even as much as our life.

And so Jesus said; “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (v. 24). Christ would have to die to nourish and sustain the world with eternal life. It is in dying that he will be glorified in the life he offers to us. This paradox already exists in nature. A seed only produces fruit when it dies and is buried. Christ by his death was glorified. By offering his life, Christ gave life to the world. By making a costly sacrifice, abundant riches was produced in the gift of eternal life. The new life that Christ offers us by the shedding of his blood is the new covenant prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah in our first reading of today. Because by Christ’s death, we have become sons and daughters of God redeemed and marked by his sacrificial love.   

This paradox of suffering to be glorified, giving up to receive, and dying to give life has become the sign of the new covenant and the mark of true discipleship. As sons and daughters of God therefore, we must reflect this sign of the new covenant that calls to a daily offering of ourselves for our salvation and the salvation of others. “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25). What we hold unto in this life would die with us; but what we give away would reap a greater reward in time and hereafter. “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also” (v. 26). The sign of the new covenant calls us to imitate daily the sacrificial giving of Christ for the greater good; so that where Christ is, we also may be.

The love that we sow through charity would live on to change the hearts of many even after we are dead and gone. The good values that we sow in the hearts of our children through the pain of discipline will bear undying fruits in future generations. The peace we create through sacrifices and forbearance could go on to create a peaceful community where forgiveness and tranquillity thrives. The enormous love and care that our children and co-workers receive from us could go on to build families and community of workers where the language of love would never go out. We may face persecution in promoting justice and fairness; but this activism can go a long way to build a nation where equality of human right is respected. And ultimately, the trials and temptations that we face and overcome can inspire the faith life of many Christian disciples and earn us eternal life in heaven. The value of what we offer is immeasurable in the effect it produces.

Christ could have rejected this hour of death but went on to embrace it because of the fruits of this sacrifice. He felt the fear of this hour. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’” (vv 27-28). Jesus felt the fear that we feel whenever persecution, pain and challenges stand between us and what is good and worth doing. But this did not deter him. “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death . . . Although he was a Son, he learnt obedience through what he suffered” (Heb 5:7-8).   

Christ calls on us today not to look at the pain but the gain. Whatever is good and worth doing should be done not just for our sake but for the sake of others too. We should not chicken out due to the fear of opposition or pain; because it is through challenges that our obedience to God is tested. And the value of what we offer is immeasurable in the effect it produces.


Lord Jesus, give us the grace to witness to you in that hour when we are faced with what is worth doing but frightened by fear. May your grace motivate us to make sacrifices for our good and the good of the world. Amen.                



    Thank you my brother for this your deep reflection shared with the whole world. May it help to bring us closer to Christ, our Saviour. Amen!

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