“Die” To be Abundantly Fruitful

Weekly Missionary Reflection
5th Week of Lent, 21 March 2021

Jer. 31:31-34; Ps. 51:3,4,12-13,14-15; Heb. 5:7-9; John 12:20-33

Obituary often says “Rest In Peace” or “has been raised to heaven”. Sometimes Protestant Churches have different way of saying: “have been glorified by the Father..”. This formulation is clearly influenced by John’s gospel. In the fourth gospel, Jesus’ death is seen as the moment of exaltation or glorification. In His death – as in all His words and deeds – Jesus is glorified by the Father, at the same time the Father is also glorified by Him, the Son. In or through three things, does the Son glorify the Father. First, through His entire life and work, which present the Father in the world. Second, through his passion, death and resurrection. Third, through the effect of His death, which is the salvation of all people. Thus, the unique and intimate relationship between the Father and the Son has been emphasized from “the beginning” to the eternity. Death is not a separation, but a transition. Death is not the end of the sufferred fate, but the beginning of a blessing true life.

The arrival of some Greeks is seen by Jesus as a sign that His “time” of glorification has come (v. 23). The result and effect of His death have begun to appear now. Not only Jews but also Greeks come to seek for Him. That is the meaning of Jesus’ death, as He emphasizes at the end: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself” (v. 32). The cross of Jesus has a global charm: attracting and saving all people. The grain of wheat has to die, in order to grow and bear fruit abundantly! In addition to saving, the cross of Jesus also means judgment. Through His death Jesus ends the life of the “ruler of this world”, Satan, who makes the world disbelieve. Jesus’ death is a punishment to unbelieving humans, as well as a stripping of Satan’s power over the world (v. 31).

Giving the highest value upon the cross is truly a “madness” of us, as the Christians. From the beginning, the cross has been a “barrier” to the believers: it is considered as a stumbling block by the Jews and fool by the Greeks (1 Cor. 1:23-24). Yet for us, as for Jesus, the cross and death are the path to glorify the Father, as well as the path to glorify our mortal life. How? By devoting our lives to Him. Jesus even uses a more extreme expression: “whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” (v. 25). Today we are invited to be ready to dedicate ourselves and our lives for others, especially the most needy. Only by the way of service and self-giving can we begin to live with Christ in the glory of the Father.

The “Greeks” in today’s Gospel can be seen as a symbol of all Jesus’s followers from Gentile group, including us today. As the follower of Jesus, you and I are the fruit of the Apostles proclamation. We are the result of Philip and Andrew’s “lobbying”. It is our mission now to lobby and facilitate various meetings of the faith. It is our turn to “die” so as to be abundantly fruitful: to bring as many people as possible to meet Him, the Giver of true and eternal life.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Sacrament of reconciliation: May through the Sacrament of reconciliation, we are enabled to renew ourselves deeper so we can feel God’s unconditional love. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Focusing on the essentials: May the Catholics always learn to focus more on the essentials, both in body and soul. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
During the months dedicated to St. Joseph, let us get the spirit that is opened to listen to Your will, in order for us to serve the Holy Family. We pray…

Amen

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