Year B Fifth Sunday of Lent
John 12: 20 – 33
To read the gospel with an open mind is to see beyond all possibilities of doubt that You, Jesus, came to bring us, not only a new life, but also, a new physical power of acting upon our world.
John’s Gospel is structured as follows:
Prologue 1: 1 – 18
The Book of Signs 1: 19 – 12: 50
The Book of Glory 13: 1 – 20: 31
The Passion 18: 1 – 19: 42
Epilogue 21: 1 – 25
To-day’s reading occurs at the division between the Book of Signs and the Book of Glory. As you read you will soon notice that the Glory of God / Jesus is often mentioned. Let us try to understand what this Glory of God means. We will find the answer in Jn 15: 8.
“By this is my Farther glorified, that you bear much fruit.”
This is fantastic. It is left to us to bring glory to God and we do that, not be doing anything extraordinary, just by being the best people we can. Jesus has told us how easy this is:
Love yourself – Love your neighbour – Love God
I am sure you will notice how frequently “glory of God” is mentioned. This must be very important. John tells us that it is through service to others that we follow Jesus and bring glory to God. This is why John places service in the middle of the text.
This may be a good time to read the text as it has been set out for you. Be aware of how it is divided up.
The Whole World – Comes to Jesus
19Then the Pharisees said to one another, “You see, there is nothing you can do; look, the whole world is running after him.”
20Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. 23Jesus replied to them: “Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24I 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. 25Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
26If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
27Now 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.
Jesus conquers all evil
28Father, glorify your name!” A voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, “It was an angel speaking to him.” 30Jesus answered, “It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours. 31Now sentence is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.
World to Jesus
32And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself.” 33By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.
Everyone of us has been blessed with all sorts of gifts. Each of us has something special to offer to those around us. The person who has a gift for mathematics can easily help the person who struggles with it. A mother is serving God, and brings glory to God as she cares for her children. ”
Right at the beginning we have Jesus’ enemies admitting that “the whole world is running after him.” He goes on to tell us that ‘Greeks’ wanted to see Jesus. These people represent the pagan world. They really wanted to get to know Jesus and to live their lives following Jesus’ example. It is not surprising that they first approach the two apostles who had Greek names.
“Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Try to feel how excited Jesus must have felt when he was introduced to the Greeks. He must really have been excited by this good news. We too will be excited as we realise just how many good people there are bringing glory to God.
You may well say, “But what about all the evil in the world?” Nobody will deny the existence of evil. However, listen carefully to Jesus’ answer to this question.
“31Now sentence is being passed on this world;
now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.”
Jesus is giving us the assurance that good is going to win.
Surely this is what John is speaking about when he tells us that Jesus will “draw all people to himself.
There is no question of condemnation.
God sent his Son into the world,
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved. Jn 3: 17
One last word about the meaning of the parable. Nothing will happen if the farmer leaves the mielie seeds in his shed. However if he takes the trouble to plant and water the seeds a great crop will be harvested. We too must not be satisfied with where we are in our spiritual lives. Let us plant the Word of God, scripture, in our lives. Come, we will commit ourselves to grow in the Word each day. We are promised rich rewards – we will get to know Jesus and “God will be glorified”