The Hour, Your Destiny, Your Ultimate Mission. | Word from the Shepherd No. 124 | 5th Sunday of Lent Year B

5th Sunday of Lent Year B
Jer.31:31-34; Heb.5:7-9; Jn. 12:20-33

There is a legendary bird in Chinese folklore, which lives to a long life. At the end of every 500 years, it was its time to die. The bird builds a funeral pyre. Sets itself on fire. And from the ashes, rises the Phoenix , revitalised and glorious. It was the hour for the Phoenix.

Jesus mentioned the hour, the hour when the “grain of wheat must fall, die and give new life”. It is the moment of choice, to go the full way, opt for a compromise or walk away from one’s destiny. What awaits the participant is the letting go of his or her preference for something higher, that glorifies God or see God glorified in him. What is obvious is the revitalised new life and identity that follows.

In Jeremiah, it is about a new awareness of a new covenant, planted deep within them, written in their hearts. It was about being moved by the God within. The Hebrew writer saw the agony and the ecstasy, from the silent suffering, the bursting forth of new life. The Greeks came to see Him in John’s Gospel. They came to see something. But Jesus pointed them to ‘the grain that must fall and die’ and the coming glory, which the voice from heaven confirmed. The new life far supersedes the old life.

What does this hour mean? How did Jesus live this hour? It is known as the moment of truth, because we have to face our greatest struggle ie to keep the familiar and the known or give up for the unknown destiny, based on God’s promise and word.

  1. It is about living with powerlessness and helplessness the passion. It is sweating blood, silent tears, prayers that are not publicly manifested, interior dissent that cannot change anything, externally overwhelmed by dark forces of injustices and there is no other power to rely on except that of God.
  2. It is about glorifying God, wanting the reign of God’s will and way. It is the call to be cross-bearers, with God, who said: ‘my yoke is easy, my burden light’…..’my heart is troubled, save me but glorify your name’ ……’let this cup pass, if it is your will, I will drink of the cup’.
  3. It is about believing in the something new that is to happen: the promise that is coming to pass, about the new covenant written deep in the heart and becoming a new people, who renounce themselves, take up the cross and follow Christ, be a wheat that falls, dies and produce much fruit; and be where Christ is serving with self-forgetfulness and sacrifice.
  4. It is about the getting ready to welcome or go to the ‘fallen grains’ like the Greeks, the sick, the impoverished, the victims and those losing their lives.

We too, have to be ready for “our hour”. That is our one moment in time. It will come to all of us. It will be our hardest moment, yet it is our ultimate mission as believers of Christ and bearers of the Cross. It is facing our destiny. We opt for it or reject It.
No dying, no life. No giving, no fruiting. No self-effacing, no self-transcendence. No self-emptying, no glorifying of God.
This is our hour, our destiny as BELIEVERS OF CHRIST, to be BEARERS OF THE CROSS.