The days of Our Lord’s Passion draw near. Our liturgy and readings today are a preparation for us to re-live the mystery of His Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection.
Pope Benedict XVI, reflecting on our Gospel (John 12:20-33) wrote:
While Jesus was in Jerusalem... some Greeks, proselytes of Judaism who were curious and attracted by what he was doing, approached Philip, one of the Twelve who had a Greek name and came from Galilee. "Sir", they said to him, " we wish to see Jesus".
Philip in turn went to Andrew, one of the first Apostles very close to the Lord and who also had a Greek name, and they both went and "told Jesus" (cf. Jn 12: 20-21).
In the request of these anonymous Greeks we can interpret the thirst to see and to know Christ which is in every person's heart; and Jesus' answer orients us to the mystery of Easter, the glorious manifestation of his saving mission.
"The hour has come", he declared, "for the Son of man to be glorified (Jn 12: 23).
Yes! The hour of the glorification of the Son of man is at hand, but it will entail the sorrowful passage through his Passion and death on the Cross.
Indeed the divine plan of salvation which is for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike will only be brought about in this manner. Actually, everyone is invited to be a member of the one people of the new and definitive Covenant. In this light, we also understand the solemn proclamation with which the Gospel passage ends: "and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32), and likewise the Evangelist's comment: "He said this to show by what death he was to die" (Jn 12: 33). The Cross: the high loftiness of love is the loftiness of Jesus and he attracts all to these heights...
In speaking of his forthcoming glorious death, he uses a simple and at the same time evocative image: "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn 12: 24).
He compares himself to a "grain of wheat which has split open, to bring much fruit to others", according to an effective statement of St Athanasius; it is only through death, through the Cross that Christ bears much fruit for all the centuries.
Indeed, it was not enough for the Son of God to become incarnate. To bring the divine plan of universal salvation to completion he had to be killed and buried: only in this way was human reality to be accepted, and, through his death and Resurrection, the triumph of Life, the triumph of Love to be made manifest; it was to be proven that love is stronger than death. End Pope Benedict Quote.
The grain of wheat must die to produce fruit (John 12:20-33). Our second reading tells us that such dying must be cultivated by obedience (Hebrews 5:7-9), and by our covenant with God, rooted in love and forgiveness. (Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Psalm 51).
God bless all of you as you make your preparations for Holy Week,
Father Robert Letona
Confession Opportunities Before Easter:
March 22nd, Thursday, 7:00 pm Penance Service at St. Patrick in Mauston March 23rd, Friday, 7:30 -8:00 am St Paul.
March 24th, Saturday: 5:30-6:00 pm St. James
March 25th, Sunday: 7:30 am St. Michael
March 28th, Wednesday 6:00 pm- 7:00pm, St. Paul.