“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” (John 12:32)
Some foreigners wanted to see Jesus. They had probably heard of his marvelous deeds, great miracles and inspiring sermons. They just simply wanted to see him. But Jesus now knew that “the hour” had come. No more audiences. No more miracles. No more teachings. The hour for which he came into the world was now at hand. He had to deliver himself into our hands to be lifted up on the cross. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies it produces much fruit (v.24).” The disciples never quite understood why Jesus talked so much about his death. Peter at one point rebuked the Lord saying that surely this would not happen. But this is the reason Christ came into the world. For “this hour” that St. John’s gospel repeatedly refers to. We will hear about “this hour” again on Holy Thursday night when we read from the following chapter of John’s gospel which starts off so beautifully saying: “Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end (John 13:1).”
Now how does one confront death when they know it’s imminent? Jesus acknowledges his trepidation when he says in verse 27 that he is “troubled.” We rarely see an instance in John’s gospel of Jesus not in control or of his humanity, and what is troubling Jesus is as close as we get to the agony in the garden in this gospel. But Jesus is in control. He knows that he was sent for this purpose, for this hour, to show the world the depths of God’s love from that cross. And if almost to remind us of who is in charge, we hear the voice of the Father in this gospel just as we did a few weeks ago during the gospel of the Transfiguration. It sounded like the voice came to console a troubled Jesus, but it was for the benefit of the people listening. You can draw a parallel to this with how Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb. He wept not for his friend whom he knew was about to rise; he wept because of the people’s unbelief. The same happens here when Jesus tells the people that the voice did not come for his sake but for the people’s.
The hour has indeed come. Jesus authoritatively declares that the “ruler of the world” will now be driven out. He is referring to the devil who will be vanquished when Christ breathes his last on Calvary. Now it is our turn to drive the ruler of the world out of our lives. To drive out all the sin in our hearts as we approach Holy Week. Next weekend is Reconciliation Weekend in the Archdiocese. Friday night and all day Saturday until 3:30pm we will be hearing confessions in this church and in dozen of churches throughout the Archdiocese. This is why we put a detailed examination of conscience is today’s bulletin: http://www.icchialeah.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=315&Itemid=37
Read through it carefully. List your sins. Bring them to confession and be healed. The hour has come for Christ to be lifted up, he wants to lift you up as well. It is precisely when he is lifted up on that cross that he will draw all to himself. So this week, prepare yourself to make a good confession and allow yourself to be drawn to our Crucified Lord who died on that cross for you.