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Facing the Hour

March 22, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

March 22, 2015
John 12:20-33
Fr. George Smiga

We are thoughtful people. So we realize that there will be events in our future that we will have to face and those events will not be easy. One day we will have to face the death of someone that we love. One day our children will leave home. One day someone in our family will be hurt by drugs, divorce, or violence. One day after a doctor’s appointment or an accident, we will realize that our life is coming to an end. We know that these difficult days lie in the future. When we think of them, we admit their truth and then we turn back to our present responsibilities. We rededicate ourselves to what we must do today.

All of this is fine and good. But today’s gospel shows us what we should do when those fateful days arrive. Some Greeks come to find Jesus. When he sees them, he realizes that soon he will suffer his passion. He realizes that the hour has come for him to endure a brutal and unjust death. Now you and I will not have to face the brutality of crucifixion. But if we examine what Jesus does in his hour, it will be an example to us of what we should do when our hour arrives.

Jesus does three things. First he admits that he is troubled, that he is afraid. When a difficult hour arrives, it is a challenge. We do not know how it will unfold or how painful it will be. It is normal for us to worry, to lose sleep, to struggle, and to complain. If Jesus was troubled in his hour, we should expect the same. But like Jesus we should admit our fear and then move on.

The second thing that Jesus shows us is that we cannot escape the hour. Jesus will not pray, “Father save me from this hour.” He understands that not all things are optional, not all things can be changed. Certainly if you and I have an honorable way of avoiding pain and suffering we should take it. But often times the pain we face cannot be avoided. Then we, like Jesus, must understand that the way out is through. We must find a way through the hour knowing that God is with us.

The last thing that Jesus does is turn to his father in hope. Jesus is afraid. He knows that he cannot avoid the hour and so he prays, “Father, glorify your name.” Jesus takes all of his pain and the inevitability of his hour and he places it in his father’s hands. And he not only asks God to assist him through his hour, he also asks God to take his pain and suffering and use it for some good: “Father, glorify your name.” Jesus does not know what God will do or how God will do it. But he trusts that God will hear his prayer.

The good news of today’s gospel is that God did assist Jesus through his hour. God did glorify his name by raising from the dead his only begotten son. That should give us hope. When we must face our hour, when we cannot escape from sickness or family trouble or death, we should trust and believe that God will not only assist us through our hour but also use our pain for some good purpose. We are challenged to believe that our pain and suffering will not be wasted, that God will use it to glorify his name.

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