Mission Society of the Philippines



Jn 12:20-33

THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL begins with an account about the Greeks who approached Philip and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” The mention of the Greeks in the gospel is a prelude to the universality of salvation that Christ has wrought in us. Let us reflect on this request by the Greeks. The desire to see Jesus is something that we should maintain in our life because of the fact that we cannot fully see God. As the Cappadocian Fathers would say, God remains a mystery or a “mysterious darkness” despite his self-manifestation to us. Let us try to understand what this “seeing” God means to us.

First, seeing is tantamount to knowing. Elsewhere in the Bible, St John says, “No one can see God.” It is true that we cannot see God through our bodily eyes. We can only see him through the eyes of faith. Although we could not physically see God, we certainly can know Him. How can we know him? Through the regular reading of the Bible, we can have some knowledge about God. Through catechesis, and through the teachings of the leaders of the Church, we can acquire some knowledge about God. Through regular attendance at the Holy Eucharist, we can have some knowledge about God. We can and we have known God through these means.

Second, seeing Jesus is a lifetime quest. Our quest to see or know Jesus should be constant. For some believers, the knowledge they got from earlier catechesis is already sufficient. It appears there is lo longer a need to go further. As a consequence, their knowledge of the faith becomes too limited. The knowledge of the faith that we received in our earlier stage of our faith formation should grow while we grow older. Since the fullness of God’s knowledge and love is wide and deep, we need to explore its width and depth so that we ultimately grow in the knowledge and love of God. It would be a disaster if our age is 35, and yet, our knowledge of the faith and God is characteristic of a child.

Third, this season of Lent invites us to see Jesus on the Cross. To see here means to find the meaning of His self-offering on the Cross. As the gospel suggests, the self-offering of Jesus is a mark of a total surrender to the will of the Father. It is a show of obedience to the will of the Father. The surrender can be found in a beautiful imagery of the grain of wheat. He says that the grain of wheat should fall to the ground and die so that it can produce fruit. There is a seeming contradiction here: losing one’s life so that others can win life. Dying to oneself so that others may live.

This last point is something we need to look into. We, people, have this tendency to cling or to hold on to many things. This results to a compromise in our discipleship. For instance, if we cling too much to power or riches, our discipleship suffers. If we cling to sins, we compromise our discipleship. If we cling to vices, our family or marital relationship suffers. It also brings misery to the concerned person. The person’s life can be pathetic. 

However, if we try to “lose” these things; if we allow these things to fall and die, life would appear instead. Like, for instance, if we “die” to our sinfulness, we can have a “new life” in and with God. Or a person who is drunkard and womanizer brings trouble and lifelessness to his family. But as soon as he “dies” to his vices, a life full of happiness will emerge in his family. Indeed, “dying” to some things would bring life to our relationship with God, and with our family. Moreover, pride and arrogance bring death in every relationship, like friendship. But if we try to lose or to die to pride, a new life in friendship begins; friendship would be rekindled. Hence, dying brings about life.


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