Sir, We wish to see Jesus
The Greeks, the new converts to Judaism came to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. They had seen or heard about Jesus and his extraordinary things that Jesus had done. These Gentiles were curious to see or have a conversation with Jesus. They approached Philip, one of the disciples of Jesus with their request to see Jesus. According to John, the Greeks never got an audience with Jesus. Philip took their request to Andrew, and, together, Andrew and Philip told Jesus, but Jesus did not say yes or no. Instead, he said, “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.” Probably, Jesus used the image of the grain to speak of his forthcoming passion, death, and resurrection to his disciples.
What do you make of this reference to a grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying today as we reflect on this passage? What does it mean for us today as we enter this Sunday? Somehow death and seeing Jesus are interrelated and interconnected. As followers of Christ, if we want to see Jesus, we must learn to die like the grain which dies and bear fruits. Seeing Jesus means dying to all parts of our life that blinds or hiders us to see a new life. Seeing Jesus means learning to die to resentment, hatred, self-centeredness, obsessions and compulsions, discrimination, and indifference to bear the fruits of love, peace, justice, forgiveness, unity, and solidarity. Henri Nouwen in his prayer ‘A cry for Mercy’ elucidates, “Yes, Lord, I have to die…. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess”. Therefore, in dying to self-life, we discover an abundant and new life as St. Francis of Assisi beautifully says, “it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
As followers of Jesus, we are challenged by the message and example of Jesus today. The Lenten journey requires us to live more intensely the rhythm of dying and rising so that we may continue to witness Christ and Christian virtues in our lives. As St. Pope John Paul II says, “We must also let him be “seen” somehow through the eloquent witness of our own life (Novo millennio ineunte).
The season of Lent is to give us time once again to die to our old sinful ways of life and rise out of the tomb with Jesus to a new way of life – renewal attitude. The second preface of Lent states, “For you have given your children a sacred time for the renewing and purifying of their hearts, that, freed from disordered affections, they may so deal with the things of this passing world as to hold rather to the things that eternally endure”. May this Lent be a time of special grace for each of us. As we are approaching the paschal feast of death and resurrection of lord Jesus Christ let us prepare ourselves for that celebration by dying to sinful ways and rising to new life with Jesus.
By Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI
Vocation Team – Central