Fifth Sunday of Lent
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 only by falling into the earth and dying. The Greeks must have been baffled. What has this speech of Jesus’ got to do with their request to see him?
But consider those Greeks. They accord Jesus rock star status. They don’t even ask to talk to the great man. They want only to see him. And they don’t dare come to Jesus directly. They just approach one of his friends, Philip, and they call Philip “Sir” – “Kyrie”. Even Lady Gaga’s groupies wouldn’t call one of her friends, “Lord”, would they?
Jesus’ response helps those Greeks to see him – the true Lord, not the rock star the Greeks were looking for. The true Lord did not come to get status and power. He 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!” “This voice didn’t come for my sake, but for yours,” Jesus tells the awed bystanders. God’s voice came to finish the lesson: God honors those who seek to honor him.
True glory lies not in rock star status, 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 in love 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 going for glory in our lives, too. Glory, glory, hallelujah!