THE “LIFTING UP” OF JESUS ON THE CROSS IS THE ASSURANCE OF OUR OWN EXALTATION AND GLORIFICATION
Today’s readings focus on the approaching death of Jesus which Paul considers a priestly sacrifice and John considers the moment of Jesus’ "exaltation" and "glorification." The readings offer us a challenge. Just as Jesus became the “Promised Messiah of Glory” and the “Conquering Son of Man” by offering his life for others, we, too, must possess Heaven by dying to self and by spending our lives in self-giving, sacrificial service.
Using metaphors of the “sown wheat-grain” and the “spent life” in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the same lessons St. Paul does. The Gospel hints at the inner struggle of Jesus in accepting the cup of suffering to inaugurate the New and everlasting Covenant. However, Jesus accepts the cross as his “hour,” meaning the stepping-stone to his passion, death, Resurrection and exaltation. He also considers his “hour” as the way of glorifying his Heavenly Father and of being glorified by his Father. In addition, it is the way by which Jesus draws all people into the saving action of God. Finally, the “lifting up” of Jesus on the cross and later into Heavenly glory by Resurrection and Ascension is the assurance of our own exaltation and glorification, provided we accept our crosses.
Today’s Gospel teaches us that new life and eternal life are possible only by the death of the self through suffering and service. Let us pray that we may acquire this self-sacrificial spirit, especially during Lent.
Excerpt from Homilies of Fr. Anthony Kadavil on John 12:20-30 available at http://stjohngrandbay.org