John 12 : 23 - 28 ( NRSV )

Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.(23) 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.(24) Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.(25) Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.(26) "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say - 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.(27) Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."(28)

Comment

     In replying to a request from some Greek-speaking Hebrew worshippers in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus, who is facing His own imminent death, thinks in terms of God's covenant plan for the salvation of all humanity.
     One view of death is to understand it as a putting an end to further achievement. When dead - a person can't do anything more! Another view of death is that it can be an achievement in itself. For example, a heroic death can redeem a worthless life!! Or a person's death can focus the achievement of a lifetime. St.Paul says the death of Jesus was for others (Rm.4:25). That underlines that the self-giving of Jesus, was dominant in His life.
     In the Hebrew scriptural tradition, God's "glory" (v.28) is any triumph of God over oppression. When the Hebrew people crossed the Reed Sea, freeing themselves from Egypt, the scriptures say that they saw God's "glory" in the demise of the Egyptians (Ex.14:31 & 15:21). That "glory of God" is YHWH's appearance in history. The God of the Hebrew scriptures, is essentially liberating! Now the gospel writer says that this liberation comes through Jesus' hour of arrest, beating, ridicule, crucifixion, death and burial (v.23).
     Jesus was "glorified" in His suffering and death! Living and loving are similar activities. To live truly, is to give our life to others. To try to save our life selfishly - is not living! It is death "without glory" as the gospel writer would say! Jesus worked for the Father's glory (v.26b). His death is freely offered and is the completion of that work according to the writer (vv.27-28) in that Jesus' "glorification" reveals the greatness of the Father's love for people. Jesus is the vehicle of God's judgement (vv.29-33).
     Whenever the prophets announced a liberation of the people (and the punishment of an oppressor) they described God as, "coming among the clouds" to make a judgement (Jl.2:2 & Zp.1:15)! Jesus is saying that He is the Messiah establishing justice on Earth! The allusion is to the book of Daniel (cf Dn.7:24) where a mysterious person; one "like a human one," is described. This mysterious one comes, "among the clouds of heaven" to rule over all the Earth!
 

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