5th Sunday Lent – “Now is the Son of Man Glorified…???”

Jesus Crucified

A lot more Johannine irony in this phrase. I myself have moved through a number of different understandings of Jesus’ glorification. I recall attending the Chicago performance of the oratorio “Book of Glory” by John Foley, SJ. A grand piece of music! John walked us all through the latter part of the gospel of John meditating on the meaning of “glory.”

How is it possible to entertain the thought that Jesus’ death on the cross is “glory?”

Here are three ways John uses doxazo, “to glorify, honor; shine” – just before chapter 13 (footwashing, teaching), in chapter 13 when Judas goes out into the night. Interesting. So, how does disciples bearing much fruit relate to Jesus’ glorious death on the cross?

John 12:23f            Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John 13:31f             When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

John 15:8f             My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

Sebastian Moore, OSB distinguishes two ways of approaching death. Jesus’ way means dying equals “return to the Father.” The other and more compelling way to most mortals means “death is the end of me doing my thing.”

I find this as I age in a way I didn’t five years ago. “I don’t have enough time to do all the things I need to do/want to do!!!” Time is a commodity within which I do what I do. It’s limited. The end is a threat to me doing my own thing. 

Here, I view loss, sickness, humiliation, and death itself as an end to what we do in this world. They interrupt my plans, my hopes, my dreams. They shatter the bucket that holds my list of what I want to do. 

“Returning to the Father” is the last thing I’d think about. Instead, I’d feel resentful that I didn’t get the hit out of what I wanted to do. Mope. Pout. Indeed.

It’s another indication that Jesus’ way differs greatly from mine.

Question is, then, how do I get there from here?

One answer: We got to go through to get to…


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