Fifth Sunday of Lent

2021 Homilies Sunday Homilies

Gospel – John 12 : 20 – 33

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”   Scripture scholars speculate that the Greeks who made this request were probably Gentile converts to Judaism.  They made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to observe the Passover and heard that Jesus was there.  As converts they were probably had the desire to grow in faith and saw the opportunity to meet with Jesus as a way of doing this.  How many of us who have been brought up in the Catholic Faith have ever made the request to, “see Jesus?” From our faith background we assume that we know and see Jesus in various ways, most particularly in the Eucharist.  This assumption, as accurate as it may be, could also lead to us taking the presence of Jesus for granted. Lent is out time to rediscover who Jesus is and his presence in our lives.

When Philip and Andrew told Jesus that some Greeks were asking to see him, his response was “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”   Jesus speaks of his facing death and rising to eternal life as the reason he came, “But it was for this purpose that I came to this HOUR.” This response could be puzzling, yet Jesus gets to the core of who he is and why he came into the world. It is the beginning of a new Kingdom and a new Age. We are called not to become attached to the time of this world that passes like sand in an hourglass, and to enter into the God-Time that is everlasting.  This HOUR that still encircles us is an HOUR for us to recall and celebrate the Incarnation, the Passion and Death, and the Resurrection. To better appreciate these, we would be well off to intentionally desire to see Jesus more than we do already. It would do us well if we took the request of the Greeks in the gospel, “to see Jesus” and made it our own.

When we seek Jesus we are drawn more and more into the mystery of God’s love and eternity.  Our entire lives are lived with the hope of seeing the glory of God.  During our journey we should become more mindful of the presence of God moving in our lives.  This is not a linear journey marked by milestones; it is a journey into the very heart of God that transcends time and space.  It is our moving into the eternal glory that God desires for us, a glory without beginning or end.

Where do we seek Jesus?  We seek him in church where we first experience his sacramental presence. He is truly present in the Eucharist.  He is there when we pray the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and the Chaplet of Mercy.  He is present at our novenas, Bible Studies and Prayer Meetings.   We seek him in family and friends as we struggle to look beyond faults and hurts, to see the presence of Christ.  We seek him in the poor, the lonely and in the least of our brothers and sister, who at times we try to avoid, but constantly seem to pop up before us, reminding us that Christ is present in them.   It is precisely these encounters with God and God’s presence in others that we are called to renew and deepen in our lives during the Season of Lent.

“I would like to see Jesus” might be a good way to introduce our various prayers these final weeks of Lent. It would be a way for us to remind ourselves of the need to intentionally approach God with the desire that we see Jesus.  Lent calls us to renew our relationship with God and a true relationship is one in which we and God see and listen to one another.

Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.