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Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Jn 12:20-33

By Fr. Serg Kabamalan, CJM

The hour has come. Jesus sees it through the mysterious sign: His rejection by the Jews and hisacceptance by the Greeks. Israel, elected and set apart to be a shining example for all the world, and meant to be the means to reveal God, had not fulfilled their part of the covenant. But God’s love can never be hindered. God took his own initiative once more. Israel is now a person, God’s beloved Son and Son of David, ready to bring the light into the world (represented by the Greeks) on his ownthrough his own glorification. It is in the heart of this new grain of wheat (that is Israel) that the laws of love are written (cf. Jn 12:24 & Jer 31:31-34), to be the fulfillment of God’s promise and of our humanity.

Prompted by the sign, he declares that his glorification will be revealed by taking his obedience to the Father’s will to the extreme – at the expense of his life, freely given as a gift beyond measure for the salvation of all (Heb 5:7-9)! Here, we see the Incarnate God mirroring the Father in deciding tocontinue to love even unto his death and annihilation. It is total self-giving.

It troubled him, yes! For the Father did not exempt his Son from experiencing fear especially at his impending suffering and destruction! Being truly human, he has to go through the unnerving and extreme experience of depersonalization. He has the freedom to escape or fight it, but in his human and divine freedom, Love won the day (and for all eternity for that matter!) and drove out the angst and fear!

It is very clear for Jesus what he is embracing. Citing the short parable of the grain, he affirms hischoice to love as the Father does. In God the Father’s time, the grain falling to the ground will die and pave the way for new life in him, with him and through him, the new life that we are supposed to live as his followers, and the life sought by countless men and women searching for meaning and what will satisfy the deepest longing of their hearts.

And so, in Christ we know that we who follow his path ought to love in the same way, i.e., even when loving momentarily brings us pain and suffering. Fear and avoidance of pain will always be there. Seeking escape will always be another option. Comfort vs. discomfort will often be on the scale. But the narrow and sometimes difficult path of love beckons toward what will complete our human existence!

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