What Jeremiah anticipates in our first reading (“the days are coming”), Jesus fulfills (“Now is the time”). What is it that is anticipated and fulfilled? A new covenant with all people, a new people…now drawn to Jesus himself.
In the Gospel, some Greeks ask to see Jesus. Jesus responds by saying that anyone who loves his life will lose it; to gain your life you have to be like a grain of wheat which brings forth much fruit, but only by falling to the earth & dying.
The Greeks must have been baffled. What has this speech of Jesus’ got to do with their request to see him?
Jesus’ response helps those Greeks to see him—the true Lord, the One who did not come to get status and power, but who came to lose his life, to fall and die, like a grain of wheat. The point is made emphatically at the end of Jesus’ response to the Greeks. He ends with a prayer: “Father,” he prays, “glorify your name.” The true Lord came to seek God’s glory, not his own.
The final part of the lesson for the Greeks, and for us, comes in God’s response to Jesus’ prayer. God honors Jesus by answering his prayer out loud: “I have glorified my name, and I will glorify it again!” Yes, God’s voice came to finish the lesson: God honors those who seek to honor him.
In our society people often strive to gain glory for themselves, even if it means hurting others. Yet, as followers of Jesus, we strive to gain glory too. But our glory is a free gift of God granted to those who serve others by dying to self.
True glory lies not in status or power or name or authority, then, but, on the contrary, in being willing to fall and die like a grain of wheat. It lies in being willing to let go, to lose one’s life in this world for the glory of God’s name.
And so the Greeks do get what they asked for. In the response of Jesus to them, they, and we, see the true Lord, and with the true Lord, the pattern for glory in our lives, too.
Now is the time…stay near Him to see the glory He offers us, the new life He gives us, as He draws all people to Himself!
God bless you during these final weeks of Lent.