The hour of Jesus has come! It is also our hour
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila () - March 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Our Gospel reading today comes from John 12:20-33, it is the Coming of Jesus’ Hour; that the hour has come for our Lord to be offered as the supreme sacrificial lamb to save humankind from its sinful ways and enter into a life eternal that God himself wanted all of us to enjoy.

“20 Some Greeks… who had come up to worship at the [Passover} feast 21… came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. 27 I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.”

Then a voice came from Heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. 31 Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.”

It is so fascinating that when our Lord Jesus finally made the announcement that his hour had indeed come, he made it before a bunch of Greeks, who were then considered “Gentiles”. It’s more than obvious to us that by the time the hour of the Lord had come, the Jews for whom the Messiah was originally sent, did not accept nor embrace him as the One sent by God as prophesied by many prophets, but the Gentiles embraced him.

The words of our Lord in today’s gospel have so much meaning. When he said,“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”Actually this is very easy to understand because it is true that if a grain of wheat doesn’t fall into the ground, it doesn’t bear any fruit at all. If our Lord Jesus did not die a horrible death on the cross, but merely died of old age, he would be just like everyone else who died a natural death.

Jesus had to die so that he would be glorified in his death for the supreme sacrifice he made by his obedience to the Father. Call it uncanny, but in my readings about the Samurai Code had something very similar to this verse. The Cherry Blossom symbolizes this where when its flowers are blooming at its peak, it then falls into the ground. Many Japanese soldiers in World War II died for the same reason… that they died in blind obedience for their honor and love of country at the peak of their youth!

The next verse is equally as interesting when he said, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” From this statement alone, hundreds of thousands of martyrs and saints throughout the two millennia have died embracing this message. In fact this is the very verse that we use against those people who want our priests to marry.As the Lord once said, you cannot have two masters. You either love this earth and all its temporary things in life or you learn to love God and his promise of eternal life. The choice is yours, not Gods! St. Augustine once quipped, “The God who created you without you, cannot save you without you!

On the last sentence of this verse, our Lord Jesus said, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” While this was a prediction of how he would die when he is lifted up on the cross. But this lifting up was prefigured in the Old Testament in Numbers 21: 4-9 where the grumblings of the Israelites resulted in their punishment by God who sent Saraph poisonous snakes, many Israelites died from the snake bite. Then the Israelites repented and asked Moses to ask God to take away the serpents.

Moses then prayed to God and the Lord responded to Moses saying, “Make a Saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” True enough, the Israelites who were bitten looked at the Saraph that was lifted up for all to see. In Ancient times and up to this day, “Lifting up” is linked to praise and worship and exaltation. This is why we say; we lift up our hearts to you Oh Lord! So now allow me to say that your Hour has come to repent your sins for this season of Lent.

***

For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

ANDREW AND PHILIP AS THE LORD CHERRY BLOSSOM HOUR JESUS LIFE LORD LORD JESUS SARAPH
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